Do you know what the single most common forgotten item is in hotel rooms? I’ve heard that it’s the cell phone charger. I’ve never had that problem because I’m quite anal when it comes to making sure I have that charger. The phone is just too important. It’s my communication device. My alarm clock. My sleep monitor. My entertainment source. My contact with friends. My media outlet. It’s very important… and thus its charger is too.
Still, when I traveled on business recently, I forgot to pack it. Luckily, I remembered during the drive to the airport and was able to swipe the car charger, which is a USB cable and an adapter for a cigarette lighter. Since most hotel rooms have USB charging locations somewhere, I was fine.
That meant that when we turned around as a family just three days later to go to a family art conference, I did not forget my charger. I dutifully plugged it into the wall outlet next to my side of the bed, which was near the wall, and life was good.
Then Hal had a meltdown at the Wednesday evening worship service. He had already hit at the water bottle his sister was holding and been warned that he was on thin ice. Then he actually got up from his seat, walked past his sister, slapped the expensive SLR digital camera his dad was holding, and then looked at him to see how badly he was in trouble.
Dad quickly removed him from the beautiful by-the-river outdoor location, not to return. I was to learn that Hal cried all the way back to our room, but didn’t struggle to get away from his dad. Even stood in place (crying) while Dad stopped to talk to someone they encountered on the way.
Eventually, they got to the room and Daddy had him lay down on the bed with him “to rest” with vague promises of possibly returning once he calmed down. He did finally calm down. And fall asleep. And somewhere along the way, perhaps before he was asleep, roll off the bed to the floor between the bed and the wall. My side of the bed.
That’s where he was when I returned to the room. Fast asleep along my side of the bed, with his blanket and pillow added for comfort. I also noticed, as I prepared to get it out of the way, that my phone charger was not there.
I carefully dug around his blanket and his sleeping body. I couldn’t find it. I looked over by the table, where I had briefly moved it earlier in the week. Not there either. I checked the sleeping kid again. I checked the sheets and blankets on our bed. My purse. The table. The suitcases. The older kids’ bed. The bathroom. The dresser. I checked everywhere. It. was. gone.
“Where is it?” I asked my husband, stressed. He checked the kid and blankets again. I felt I was losing my mind. He offered to let me use his charger during the night and we snaked it under his pillow to my side of the bed.
The next morning, I asked the kids if anyone knew where it was. As expected, I received blank looks in return.
“Look, Hal,” I said. “It was in that wall socket right there yesterday. Now it’s not. It’s very important that I find it. Did you do something with it?”
“Ok, no one will be in trouble. I just need it back. Please. If anyone knows where it is…”
“Wait a minute, Mommy,” Hal said as he scurried over to the space between the bed and the wall where he had slept the night before. He mumbled something that I couldn’t quite make out as he lay prostrate on the ground and reached way, way back behind the bed and extracted my charger from that narrow space between the wall and the head of the bed.
I couldn’t believe it. I kept my promise and didn’t yell at nor punish him. You better believe, though, that I used the flashlight app on my phone to check that area of the room before we left Friday. I never have before but it’s now part of the “make sure we haven’t left anything” routine. At least when the kids are involved. Who knows what they’ve been up to while you weren’t watching?