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And the Compass of Home
Mom is the keeper of things. At least that’s true at my house . . . and it always has been. When I was a kid, if I couldn’t find something—usually because I was too lazy to look—I just yelled out, “Mom! Where’s my backpack?” or “Mom! Where’re my socks with the stripes?” And she always knew.
That system stayed in place when I became the mom. However, the lost items changed slightly. I was hearing, “Mom! Where’s my cell phone?” or “Mom! Where’re my soccer cleats?” Somehow, I always knew where the sought-after items were hiding. I’d like to think this was due to some special Mom power, but in reality it was because I was the one who was cleaning up! I’m sure the same thing was true for my own Mom. When you’re the one cleaning up, you have a pretty good idea where things are.
My tried-and-true motto is: If you put things back in the same spot, you’ll know right where to find them. I have to tell you, this lesson was pretty much lost on my children . . . but I was sure determined to try and prove it! I once used a thick black marker on the tool pegboard to outline the spots where all my tools should hang. If the hammer or wrench was missing, it was obvious. Well, it may have been obvious that the tool was missing; what wasn’t so obvious was finding out who took it! No one ever fessed up.
As an example, for a few years, there were never any spoons in the silverware drawer. Well, if the truth be told, the only spoons in the drawer were the spoons that had slipped into the garbage disposal, so they had jagged edges, and nobody wanted to use them. I couldn’t figure out why the spoons were disappearing. Then one day, after seeing a TV news report about roaming neighborhood cats that used children’s sandboxes as litter boxes, I decided to get rid of ours. That sandbox had to go—so gross. Well, I surreptitiously dumped the sand under the trees and in other obscure spots around the yard. I didn’t find any cat poop . . . thankfully . . . but I did find every one of those missing spoons! The kids must have been using the spoons as shovels!
My husband loved to blame the kids if he couldn’t find something. Usually, this meant asking, “Who took the remote?” or “Who took my car keys?” The answer, of course, was that nobody had taken his things. Like the kids, he did not subscribe to the idea of putting things back in the same place each time!
The kids aren’t home anymore, but that hasn’t stopped my husband from blaming the kids if he can’t find something or if he thinks something is missing. “The kids must have taken it,” he will say. What a ridiculous idea! I think he continues to say it because he knows this makes me laugh, which is endearing.
He loves to save spare change and has a very organized system of plastic containers. One holds the quarters, one is for dimes, and another is for nickels. I’m not sure how he generates spare change every day—I never have any kind of cash—but he’s religious about saving it. So, the other day, he walked into the kitchen, carrying one of his coin containers, and announced that someone had stolen some of his quarters. I pointed out that there were only two possible suspects, him and me, and I was not guilty of the crime. Nonetheless, he was convinced that a crime had been committed! Somebody had stolen his quarters!
I won’t admit to a crime I haven’t committed, but even so, I will hang on to my role of Mom—the keeper of lost things.