Once upon a time, Halia had a mouse named Mi. Halia forms very strong attachments with certain critters, and Mi was a constant companion. He had a little keychain clip on him and usually she kept him clipped to her backpack so he went to school with her pretty much everyday. She’d detach him and play with him around the house, too, and he even went to birthday parties. (Here he is at a birthday party photo booth.)
And one day, sometime in early spring this year, he was gone.
We didn’t think that much of it at first because we figured he’d turn up. Mi is a small mouse and easily lost. Halia’s room was not exactly tidy most of the time.
But he didn’t turn up, and still he didn’t turn up. There were many, many nights when Halia would cry for him. We thought it might ease up with time, but instead it intensified.
Let’s face it, this is not an easy time for the girls. No matter how gentle we are trying to be, the separation and imminent move to a new house are big, emotional changes for everyone in the family.
She did report one day that someone else at school had a mouse just like Mi clipped to her backpack. I told her to ask that other girl where she had got it. Halia reported back that it had been a gift from a friend. (“Well, if there’s another one around, it must be possible to find a replacement,” I thought.)
I tried looking online for a new Mi, but I didn’t know what brand he was. My searches for “white mouse toy”, “white rat keychain”, “small plush mouse”, and every combination I could think of yielded no results that looked like Mi.
Halia couldn’t remember where we had procured Mi; she thought maybe the Vancouver airport or possibly the Ottawa airport. She was pretty sure it was an airport. (But she’s been in a lot of airports.) (“White mouse airport” yielded no better results.)
I realized that the nightly tears were probably mostly a channel for Halia’s tough emotions around our changing family, but it was heartbreaking and persistent. Finally, I decided to ask the school secretary to put me in touch with the older girl’s family so I could find out who had given the gift so I could get in touch with that family to find out where the mouse had been purchased so I could find a replacement.
I talked to the secretary this past Friday, feeling utterly ridiculous. She passed the message along to the vice principal of the school and he called me to assure me that he would put some time into investigating and had already talked to the student’s teacher. I felt even more ridiculous, taking up precious administrative time on a quest for a mouse. He assured me that these are the things we do for our children’s well-being. He promised he would follow up with me on Monday.
But Halia came home from school on Friday and shouted for me as soon as she came in the door.
“What?” I asked, mystified.
And she held up a scruffy white mouse.
The student with Mi had sought out Halia after school and given him to her. And I swear to you that Halia was over the moon and happier than I’ve seen her in many, many months.
Now I could finally look up the brand: Schaffer. A search for “Schaffer white mouse” immediated turned up results. Not only that, but he’s a “Rudolph Schaffer Mi Mouse” and sold mainly in Europe. So it seems Mi was named before we even brought him home and he must have come from the Frankfurt airport. Which means the Mi the other student had been carrying around truly was Halia’s all along.
Such a small thing, but it really feels like a cloud has been lifted. Mi is home and Halia has gone right back to carrying him everywhere with her. I know it won’t last forever, but for now, she has exactly what she needs.