He freaked out bad when he realized the backpack was gone. I don't think I've ever seen him so upset.
Most of the contents of the backpack were just clothes. Sad to lose, but definitely replaceable. A hat and scarf knitted by Brittany, but those were of more use in Minneapolis; we hardly ever use them in Oregon. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Losing that meant that the nice boxed set of Narnia books that my Dad gave us would be incomplete, but again, we can replace the book if we need to, even if it doesn't perfectly match the boxed set. As a friend of mine said when her house burned down this last year - "It's just stuff."
But the Pooh Bear was not replaceable. I've made a big deal out of all of the kids' "first toys", the first toy that anyone ever gave specifically to them, usually while they were still in utero. Kyrie has her Ducky Bear; Elijah has his Pooh; Savi has her pink bunny; Gabe has a little blue duck; and Julie's Corduroy Bear is sitting up high waiting for her to be big enough to play with it. These are the toys that are allowed to stay on their bed instead of being put away; these are the toys they often choose to sleep with and keep with them during Quiet Time. And these are the toys that came with us to Minneapolis. (Well, sort of. Savi is mildly obsessed with her Lilo doll, so she brought that instead. And Gabe's ducky is buried somewhere, so I grabbed a stuffed giraffe for him instead. And Julie's toy didn't come with us, since she's not old enough to even grab it yet. So two out of the five toys came with us... that's less than half, but we'll just pretend it happened that way, eh? Because it makes a better story? What, you say you're not buying this? Tough.) This particular Winnie-the-Pooh is wearing a blue nightshirt and nightcap; even if we could find some sort of replacement that would look like that toy, it wouldn't be the actual first toy ever given to Elijah.
We called Trimet Lost and Found right away to let them know. They called back the following morning to say that no one had turned the backpack in. Things looked pretty bleak.
Ken contacted a local news station, hoping they would put out a call for Pooh to be returned. They sent an email back saying they might, but if they did, they never told us.
Elijah cried when he had to go to bed without Pooh. Kyrie tearfully told him that she had prayed that he would get it back; he tearfully said that he had, too. My heart was breaking. I asked God frequently that Pooh would somehow make it back to Elijah.
I couldn't see any way that Pooh would come back. But I forced myself to remember that God was in charge; he could literally make Pooh appear at our home if that was what it would take. It wasn't easy to believe, but it's true, so I kept reminding myself, and it helped bring a little peace.
This morning I called Trimet Lost and Found again. The guy said that no blue backpacks had been reported turned in. Then, helpfully, he did a search of his database for all backpacks. He described a couple backpacks for me, none of them ringing any bells. (I'm still a little surprised that Trimet would have so many lost backpacks around, since the ones he described sounded like adult backpacks, not kiddie ones. Do people really leave their backpacks on buses that often?) And then it came... "Oh, this might be it. I see a black and blue Batman backpack. Let me go check." I could hear him zip it open over the phone, and he said there was a stuffed toy inside. It was Pooh Bear. After I got off the phone, I was so happy I wanted to cry. (I didn't cry, though. Not over a silly stuffed animal. I'm waaaay too mature for that, aren't I? I confess. I totally cried. So much for maturity.) Once again, God came through for us. We drove over to the bus garage this afternoon and picked the backpack up. Tonight, Elijah gets to sleep with Pooh Bear again. This may not be the kind of miracle that breaks the laws of physics, but it sure is the kind that touches the heart.