Today, I searched for a missing Polly Pocket shoe.
The shoe in question is about the size of two grains of rice. Polly Pocket shoes are the bane of my existence. And we have so many containers of them. We have 8 years worth of Polly Pocket garage sale finds, gifts, and hand-me-downs that our shelves in the basement overflow with tiny rubber doll accessories no bigger than your thumb. And in that universe, one tiny dark pink shoe was somewhere, suspended in a galaxy of shoes.
I could have told my daughter that Polly needed to go barefoot. I could have lied and said that the shoe was gone. I could have just told her that there was no way in the world I would leave my desk to spend hours sifting and sorting for a doll shoe. Besides, it doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things.
But I did it. On the fourth container (and almost an hour later), I found the shoe. You would have thought we had struck gold. We squealed and jumped around. She held it up like some Olympic medal.
We lost an afternoon on that shoe. (I think it's missing again. I can't find it anywhere.)
So in the center of this ordinary day, the mass around which everything else orbits, was that insignificant shoe. That shoe represents the type of world I want her to know. It's a world where people stop their work to help a child find what matters so much to her. It's a world where we recognize what seems futile and unproductive to us might just be the very thing that brings delight to another person. (My husband, for example, watches American Idol with me because I like it. It's growing on him. And I watch woodworking shows with him. They are still boring.)
If I'm going to live with flair, I want to offer the kind of love another person wants to receive. It's not easy to give. It may seem like a huge waste of time. But what I devalue might just be what a person I love cherishes. I want to recognize what others think living with flair means.
For my daughter, it's finding a shoe. And so I'll search for it.