“Mom, have you seen my…?

These are the introductory words to many a sentence around here… It’s like a skill testing challenge in which I have mere seconds to prove my memory capabilities.

For instance: “Mom, have you seen my pants?” is a complex question. “Your jogging pants? Your adventure pants? (AKA the grey quick dry track pants… obviously) Your jeans? Which are also pants… What exactly are we searching for here?”

Once the type of pants have been clarified we can move on to the good part, the part that the inquirer was trying to talk about in the first place and is now expectantly awaiting an answer on.

“Check your shoe bin, your clothes bin, the clean laundry bin in my bedroom, the dryer, or the kitchen where you had that unfortunate applesauce episode.”

Presently, I’m their best resource for knowing the location of all of the things. I wonder if that ability is ever listed under the strengths column of legitimate resumes.

“Mom, have you seen my…?” This game is not for the faint of heart, let me tell you what.

In the middle of the night an extra challenge is presented because obviously, you’re half asleep, AND toddler speech interpretation is now required.

I hear his footsteps as he races across the hardwood floor towards my bedroom. He bursts through my door wailing, “Mama, my lion guy! You see my lion guy?”

I think the funniest part is that I know precisely what he’s talking about in that moment. So although I hesitate to wake a sleeping husband, I plop the wailing two year old on top of his sleeping form and say, “Hold him ok? I’ve gotta go find lion guy and I don’t want his crying to wake his brothers.”

There I am in the middle of the night digging my way through the contents of a bunk bed looking for a LEGO mini figure lion guy from the Wizard of Oz. He’s a prized character and was unfortunately taken to bed and simply placed beside the pillow… not INSIDE the specialized wooden box we have purposefully stored BESIDE the pillow to avoid the ‘dark of night hunt for the lost item’ situation.

Thank the Lord for iPhone lights and a savvy eye that can locate lion guy after he has slipped through the wooden cracks of the back of the bunk to the carpet below.

Success.

You’ve heard the phrase, “Whatever helps you sleep at night?” Well for me, the ‘whatever’ is an ability to locate. If I can figure out where stuff is while still half asleep in the presence of a crying and also half asleep toddler, then that will indeed help me return to my slumber sooner… it will in fact be the very thing that does HELP me sleep at night.

Whew.

I wonder if I’ll ever lose my skill, perhaps over time I’ll get rusty… or perhaps I’ll stay strong and steady…

Maybe years from now my boys will call me up and ask:

“Mom, do you remember that wooden slingshot I bought from the small toy store when I was 8? You know, the carved one that has a big black bear on it? I was just telling my kid about it and he was so excited to try slingshotting some rocks into the creek with me… and I was wondering if by any chance you kept it…”

And maybe just maybe, I will have kept it. It’ll be in that little box of keepsakes in the back of the closet marked, “Random belongings my boys left behind when they moved out, but one day just might come back looking for…”

And once again I’ll be able to answer YES to that classic age old question of, “Mom, have you seen my…?”

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