Since March, we’ve been caretakers of a 2-inch Mississippi Map Turtle, creatively named Turtle. He lives in a fish tank and has had a variety of fish/tadpole/snail roommates (largely depending on what the boys find in the creek).
Holiday or not, Christmas Day was tank-cleaning day. It was too cold to put Turtle in a tub in the backyard for some sun and exercise. We set the turtle on the kitchen floor to walk around as I finished cleaning the tank and Mike finished a project. Bad idea. Within minutes, that speedy little guy had zipped off to somewhere unknown.
How hard could it be to find a turtle on the run? We scanned every wall, moved furniture, shined a flashlight under every piece of furniture and behind every household appliance. Knowing that the turtle couldn’t get out of the house, we left for the Stephen’s Christmas dinner.
That evening, we repeated our turtle hunt to no avail. Feeling like terrible pet owners, we set a space heater and a tray of water on the kitchen floor in hopes that he would seek the water and warmth overnight. No turtle. So the next morning, the deep cleaning began–which included pulling out furniture, clearing the closets, more flashlight tours, and taking apart the boys’ bedroom. No turtle.
Our kids, grandkids and Brayden’s new puppy arrived to open presents. Everyone had strict instructions to “watch where you step and watch for Turtle.” Cooper said, dramatically, “We need to find Turtle. We need a Christmas miracle.” Leah said, “Maybe he’ll be one of the presents under the tree.”
Sure enough, at the end of the evening, as everyone was chatting and preparing to leave, Chris said, “Amy Dee, is that your turtle?” He pointed to the floor beneath the Christmas tree. Crawling out from under the tree skirt—was Turtle!
Cooper jumped up and said, “It’s a Christmas miracle!” Then he modified his statement. “Since Chris found him, it’s a Chris-mas miracle.” We all laughed and took Turtle back to his tank. We’re not sure how he escaped being crushed by the boys, who had rearranged and shaken all the presents under the tree at least three times that day. Needless to say, Mike and I felt relieved that our 2-inch charge had reappeared–and in grand, holiday style.