I am the finder of lost things.
I am the steward of lost loveys, the maven of misplaced toys, the caretaker of wayward video games, the overseer of missing but favorite t-shirts, the guardian of important yet elusive papers.
It is not a role I particularly relish.
I get frustrated when the stuffed kitty is missing at bedtime and my four year old can't possibly sleep without it.
I get annoyed when the video game my seven year old wants to play is nowhere to be found at precisely the moment that he decided none of the other 376 games he has will possibly do.
I feel irritated that I spend so much of my time looking for other people's stuff.
I start too many sentences with "If you would have put it back where it belongs..." and "It's where ever YOU left it..." and "You are responsible for your own things..."
Then I huff and sigh and nag and stomp around while trying to help them find whatever it is that's lost in this moment, because after all, nothing is truly lost until Mama can't find it.
But I still resent the amount of time I spend looking for other people's stuff. I always know where MY things are. I've tried and tried and tried to train the boys to put things where they belong. I've made places for everything. I've stressed the importance of keeping things put away correctly a million and one times.
Still, something is nearly always missing.
I wonder sometimes what I would do if I had those extra few minutes back every day. If instead of searching for lost things I could read a book, or drink a cup of coffee, or clean the oven or whatever small task that I deem important enough at that moment.
But then I hear it once again. "MAMA! I CAN'T FIND MY (whatever it is)! Can you help me?" and I sigh and get up and go on the hunt, because even though the missing item is just a little thing, insignificant in the bigger picture, if I start to discount all the little things and deem them unimportant and unworthy of my time, someday all too soon my boys will begin to believe that what's important to them isn't important to me.
So for now, and for as long as it will take, I will continue to search.