My Version of “Lost”

I blame a lot of things on my children. The dark, puffy circles under my eyes. The pudgy bulge of skin surrounding my waistline. My inability to remember anything for longer than 5 minutes. But there is one thing that I blame on them that I honestly believe they contribute to – missing objects in the Clemens home.

I HATE losing stuff. When something is lost — and I am aware that it’s missing — I turn into a human hurricane blowing through the house leaving a trail of destruction as I scramble until the object is found. For some reason I become completely obsessed, lapsing into an I-can’t-do-anything-else-until-I-find-that-stupid-thing panic mode.

You should have seen me last spring when I lost my 2-year-old’s baby book. I stayed up looking for it until midnight to no avail. I felt so bad that I bought a new book and tried to re-record every baby milestone that I could remember. A couple months later I found the stupid thing in the bottom of my dresser. Now he has two baby books.

Then there was the time last week when I was stressed out of my mind because “we” had misplaced my oldest son’s giant shark-tooth fossil. Don’t worry it was in his closet.

I worry about losing stuff, and stuff that I can’t find, 24 hours a day. You’d think that while my children were sleeping I could put my mind at ease. But half of the time they lose stuff in the dark of the night. They insist on sleeping with certain toys and I agree only with the hope that letting them lay by their toy will help them go to sleep faster and stay asleep longer. But somehow toys get lost in their sea of covers or stuck down the impossible-to-get-to crack between their beds and wall. For the past several weeks I have found my 2-year-old’s metal toy gun in the gap between his bedrail and mattress. I’ve trained myself to check that spot each morning before breakfast.

I think part of my losing-stuff paranoia stems from my concern of what others might think of me. Laugh if you must, but deep down I think that if I lose anything that means I am a sloppy, unorganized maniac. I worry that if I tell a friend something is lost, they’ll imagine my home as a hoarder’s paradise where objects frequently go missing in my mountainous junk piles.

I promise you that I keep a tidy home, but if I was organized and my house was clean I wouldn’t lose anything, right?

Well, maybe if I didn’t have sons with sticky fingers. A lot of my “lost” objects wouldn’t be “lost” without their help. The 2-year-old is the worst. He thinks it’s hilarious to toss random objects in random places. I can’t do any laundry these days without first checking to see if he’s thrown anything into my basket.

Take my planner for example. I lost it a couple of months ago, and therefore lost my calendar, contact information and lists of everything I might possibly need to do for the next year or so. I kid you not, on the day that I was heading to the store to buy another one I found the little blue notebook in the back of my boys’ closet. It was shoved behind the swords and guns. Ironically I was looking for a “lost” toy at the time. I am sure that the little man threw it back there.

I wish our lost objects only got lost at home. But my children have an annoying habit of taking toys with them wherever we go. I don’t know how many times I have had to run back into my mom’s house to search for something after I have already buckled them into the car. And who knows how many things we’ve left at Wal-Mart.

I think I am losing my mind. Maybe I need to get on some losing-stuff stress-reducing medicine. Maybe I just need to realize I’m not going to be able to hang on to everything and even if it kills me, let some of the less important objects remain lost.

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