Picture this scene:

A sunny July afternoon in the parking lot of the small (but very nice . . . and free) Alamogordo, NM city zoo. The loving, thoughtful mother starts the car and lets the air conditioner run in an effort to cool the interior before placing her almost-one-year-old son in his car seat. The mother and son sit on a blanket in the shade of an awning, sipping from (respectively) a water bottle and a sippy cup.

The mom checks the car one more time and, finding it nice and cool, places her son in his carseat, hands him his sippy cup, and closes the car door. She smiles at her son and walks around to the driver’s side of the car and pulls up on the door handle. Nothing. The door doesn’t open.

She reaches in her purse for her keys but then realizes they aren’t there. They’re dangling from the ignition. Inside the car.

Does she panic? Not at all. She calmly smiles and waves at her son to let him know mommy has everything under control, and then she walks back around to the passenger side again. She pulls up on the handle on the door she closed just a few minutes before, after putting her son in his car seat.

Nothing. That door doesn’t open earlier. Her habit of pushing down on the lock before closing the door has come back to bite her.

Does she panic? No, not at all. She tensely smiles at her son to let him know mommy is working on the problem and rushes to check the other doors. Then all of the doors again. Then she panics.

Long story short, on that pre-cell phone afternoon 27 years ago, the mommy — okay, I admit it, it was me — called the police from a phone booth just a few feet away from her – car and explained to the police officer what had happened. I also explained that my Air Force Captain husband and possessor of the other car key was deployed who-knew-where, and I needed help.

I was only sniffling a bit when I made the call, but by the time the officer arrived — bless him, he used his lights and siren to get there sooner — I was standing at my son’s window, sweating profusely and crying, while smiling crazily to convey to my son that everything was okay. The officer didn’t lecture me on my incompetence, and throughout the whole ordeal, my son laughed and smiled and drank from his sippy cup there in the nice air-conditioned car while both the officer I sweated profusely and one of us cried.

Eventually, the door was unlocked, the nice police officer went on his way, and I promised my son I would never lock him in the car again. Addled by the heat, I tried to bribe him not to tell his daddy, but then I realized that he only said a handful of words, none of which included “car”, “locked”, or “inside”, so I was off the hook.  (By the way, I confessed within 3 minutes of my husband walking in the door 4 days later)

I’d almost forgotten about that incident. Until last Wednesday.

I decided to clean up the files on my laptop. I opened the “Documents” window and began deleting things I no longer need. I zipped along quite happily, feeling pretty darned good about ridding my life of some electronic clutter.

When I finished, I glanced at the clock and saw I had about 30 minutes until I needed to leave for an appointment. Plenty of time to make a dent in cleaning out my bookmarks folder. Four years of bookmarking pages and sites and blogs had led to over 30 folders with goodness-knows-how-many sites per folder.

I’ll be merciful and get right to the point. Somehow, at some point, when I thought I was deleting a folder with 5 sites I visited 3 years ago before a visit to South Carolina, I actually deleted ALL  of my bookmarks.

Yes, you read that right. ALL of my bookmarks.

Bookmarks for tiny house sites that are chock-full of information, sites for scrapbooking ideas I loved, sites for leaving my slothful ways and exercising my way to a whole new me, sites for . . . well, I think you’ve got the idea.

When I realized what I’d done, I was stunned. I simply sat there and looked at the screen in total disbelief. Suddenly, I recognized that feeling. I flashed back to that day at the zoo, and I remembered how stunned I felt when I realized that I’d locked my son in the car. But this time there was no nice, patient police officer who would race through the streets to my rescue.

I turned off the computer. And I’ll admit that I turned in back on and clicked on “Bookmarks” one more time. Just to see if all of my bookmarks would somehow, by some Apple wizadry far beyond my comprehension, reappear. They didn’t.

When it dawned on me — finally — that over four years’ worth of searching for sites, combing through who-knows-how-many, and then amassing a virtual file cabinet of resources was gone, the numbness wore off and feeling returned.

The first to surface was regret, followed by disappointment. Followed by a moment or two of frustration.

And then I made a decision. A simple but very important decision.

I decided to consider my mistake a blessing. I wouldn’t have to spend what would surely be hours looking back at every site and, undoubtedly, getting sidetracked by reading and looking at pictures. I wouldn’t have to reorganize them into a more streamlined, usable set of bookmark folders.

Instead, I get to start with a clean slate. This time, I’m going to be more discriminating in what I bookmark and more organized (no more folders titled “untitled”, “Untitled”, and “untitled2”).

An oops? Yes. A blessing? Aboslutely!