The Case of the Missing Library Book

Just how far will parents go to ensure that our children are upstanding citizens?! Recently…well, OK…not so recently, about a month ago actually, we realized that one of our beloved library books had gone missing. This is not the first time that this has happened, but each time it does happen it seems that the circumstances get worse.
For example, the last time this occurred we were in the middle of a move. Grant it, it wasn’t a big move (literally three to three and a half miles, depending on the route), but a move nonetheless. Anyhow, we tried very hard to dot all of our “i”s and cross all of our “t”s. We made piles of stuff to be returned to school, to the library, to this person’s house or that person’s house.

As the last bag of books and movies went back to the library, we realized that there were two, very thin, early reader books missing. We knew that they were around somewhere, the question was…where?! And so we continued to pack and move all of our belonging from one house into another.

Thankfully, our library allows books to be checked out three weeks at a time. And can typically be renewed two or three times. So we had a decent amount of time to dig through boxes to find these things! Finally, after unpacking about fifty million boxes we found each of the books. We promptly returned them to the library and had a huge sigh of relief.

Fast forward….or rather, rewind to the beginning of my story. About a month ago, as I was scrolling through our library account I realized that one of the books that was due was missing. It was a book that we had requested and taken out for our six-year-old son. After asking him if he knew where the book was, to which he replied, “no”, I checked the renew box, hit enter and went on my merry way to return the rest of our stash.

Later that evening, I again asked our son, my husband, and our other son if anyone knew the whereabouts of the book. Again, the responses were all no. After the boys went to bed, my husband and I started racking our brains. When was the last time we saw it?! Did our son take it anywhere or was it definitely still in the house? Where should we start looking first??
Needless to say, our house has been torn inside out, upside down and backwards trying to find this book. My husband is literally taking apart our ductwork as I type. I wish I was kidding, but alas I am not. You see, the boys’ room is the first room that we renovated after moving in. And there just so happens to be one, small detail unfinished…a vertical vent that was never recovered. It is under the bottom bed and seldom seen. However, books do fall back there quite frequently.

Last night after finishing our bedtime stories I jokingly said to myself, “I wonder if the book fell in the vent”…”nah!”. But then I made the mistake of saying it out loud. And now, my husband is downstairs, in the basement, hammering away at the ductwork, trying to find the missing library book.

Many of our friends have told us to just suck it up, buy the library a new book and pay the processing fee. Of course, the money will be coming out of our son’s piggy bank, but how do we stress to him the importance of responsibility? And the fact that he is going to have to pay double what we could get the book for on Amazon?

Update: my husband just came upstairs. He did not find said missing book, BUT he did find the back cover of an old Golden Book. That being said, it’s not entirely impossible that the missing book was shoved into the vent (or even fell into the vent) and just didn’t make it all the way to the basement.

He is now currently upstairs, dangling his phone into the vent (genius, I know) to see if he can get a picture from that angle.

Between my husband and I, we’ve probably spent a million hours looking for this book. In between mattresses, in both of our vehicles, in every bag (we have a lot of bags!). Meanwhile, our kid has spent about five minutes. Yes, he has lost privileges. And yes, we’ve probably spent at least half a million hours questioning him. He claims to have no idea where it is and clearly isn’t too concerned about finding it.

So where the heck is this book?! Would it be less stress to just pay for it? Probably. Will I be furious when I find it a year from now in the outdoor toy bin in the garage (like my cousin said he did one time)? Absolutely. Will my kid come out slightly more responsible? Probably not this time. But will I still do everything in my power to make certain that my kid is an honest, respectable adult including continuing to utilize our amazing library system and go through this all over when another book disappears? You bet.

Note to self: Check outdoor toy bin.

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