Nada. Not there. Like that bad driver in front of you who realizes he's missing his offramp and veers at 60 mph across solid white lines and makes it with 10 feet to spare, I swerve my Snap-n-Go out of the line of exiting-shopping-cart traffic and pull off into the electronics.
Where are they? Check the coat pockets five times. Check jeans pockets. Check nooks and crannies of said leather purse--no dice. Sigh. Get hot and flustered in winter coat, and cue Baby J's first whimper of "You don't look like you're taking this so well, Mom, so I'm going to add to the fray: Waaaaaaah!"
Take diaper changing supplies, spare baby outfit, spare baby distraction rattles AND the hooter hider out of the purse, just to make sure the keys aren't hiding somewhere within.
In all this, my heart told me repeatedly: "Pray, pray, pray. Pray to St. Anthony. Pray to the Blessed Mother. You could even go straight to our Lord. Just invoke someone, please!"
But in my head, I could only make room for this practical, definitely non-prayerlike thought: "I'll have to call Sean (at work) and have him leave to come pick us up. At least he's not out of town today. He'll just have to come get us."
I make the call to the hubby, only to get his voicemail. Hrm. As my practical plan is thwarted for a moment, my heart makes one last entreaty: "You could at least go out to the car and pray that you left it unlocked, and the keys are somewhere inside."
Alright, heart, I'll take your advice instead of calling the hub's cell every 20 seconds until he picks up. Baby J and I brave the wet snow and the stroller-jamming slush, and head out to the car. I peek into the driver's side window--they're not on my seat or in the ignition. I wheel the stroller back to the trunk, retracing my steps from when I first arrived and--clink clink goes something under my foot.
There they are, already three-quarters covered in the fast-falling snow. But there they are.
I think I audibly said "thank you" about five times while putting Baby J in the car, putting the groceries in the front seat and folding up the stroller for the trunk. After getting back on the road, though, I was finally able to thank God personally for His help. My thanks took the form of the Divine Praises:
Blessed be God.
Blessed be His Holy Name.
Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true man.
Blessed be the name of Jesus.
Blessed be His Most Sacred Heart.
Blessed be Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.
Blessed be the Holy Spirit, the paraclete.
Blessed be the great Mother of God, Mary most holy.
Blessed be her holy and Immaculate Conception.
Blessed be her glorious Assumption.
Blessed be the name of Mary, Virgin and Mother.
Blessed be Saint Joseph, her most chaste spouse.
Blessed be God in His angels and in His Saints.
I hope I was able to somewhat emulate the one leper (out of 10) who knew he had to first return and "give thanks to God" for the miracle.
But, quite obviously, I need to work on turning to prayer first in my crisis--God knows that Proverbs 3:5 should be tattooed on my forehead:
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, on your own intelligence rely not;
In all your ways be mindful of him, and he will make straight your paths.
Or: "On your own cell phone, rely not. He will make a straight path, to your keys."