large family life; kids are always losing things

It’s mesmerizing outside; the air is cool and slightly damp, “it smells like rain” said Seth as he went out the door to wait for the bus.  A most gentle of winds is bending leaves and branches and tree tops.  The sky is light gray and easy on the eyes.

My husband is away this week on a business trip.  I have found that planning a busy evening helps pass the hours until bedtime.  The boys’ football practice was cancelled last night so we picked David up from soccer practice and headed to the mall.  Three handsome sons had haircuts with a friendly six-foot barber who is getting to know them now after several visits.  He asked them about their sports, their older brothers, called them each “my man” and gave them strong handshakes, bending near for a half hug and pats on the back, a big laugh, and smiles when they got down off the chair.    The boys love it.

Then we had pretzels and sang to the radio on the way home in the dark.

It was 7:30 pm when we pulled in the driveway and David needed to finish up his homework.  I was busy getting Seth and Sarah off to bed when I heard loud bangs and booms.  The air crackled with frustration and anger; David couldn’t find his Very Important and Expensive calculator.

(Okay, so.  Typically when the kids come to me and say, “Mom I can’t find my “whatever” small item, I simply don’t care in the least.  I pretend like I care because I don’t want to hurt their feelings.  I say, “Don’t worry, you’ll find it.”  BECAUSE I KNOW for a fact that this THING they can’t find WILL show up.  I think to myself:  don’t even bother looking for it, child, you will come across it very soon.  And sure enough, their lost item is, 99% of the time, found in a timely manner. )

However, this calculater was another, more urgent lost item, part of the remaining 1 %,  and had to be located like, five minutes ago.  Four of us had remembered seeing it with our very own eyes in the new football bin on the porch.  The bin is so big that it can hold the football stuff AND several backpacks, a lawn chair, soccer balls, and old cleats.  The last time we saw it, the calculator was on the bottom of the bin, after falling out of David’s backpack, but now to everyone’s horror it WASN’T THERE.  David stormed around the house, inside and outside, looking for it.  “SOMEONE TOOK IT!” he accused.  He slumped on the couch and said impatiently to his brother, “What are YOU looking at?”  He stomped upstairs and downstairs.  Finally I said, “It HAS TO BE IN THE BIN!!!  If we last saw it in the bin and none of us touched it, IT HAS TO STILL BE IN THE BIN!!!”  Seth (who got out of bed because he “wanted to help”) looked in the bin, David looked in the bin three times, and I also looked in the bin.  Hmmmm, it really was not there.  I suggested other spots where it could be.  No.  Finally, I suggested calling their Dad.  He didn’t answer, but called back about half (a long) hour later.  We were all completely stressed out.  “I don’t like it when David gets mad”,  Seth confided in me.  “My night is…. totally ruined,” I secretly thought dramatically to myself.  “Ugh.  That calculator was so expensive, too, I wonder if we should give him a new one next week for his birthday to replace it.  He would LOVE that.”

HOWEVER……Rich knew what we were talking about right away.  “I saw it on the bottom of that bin and put it in the front pocket of his book bag,” he said an an annoyed fatherly voice because he hates it when things aren’t put away where they are supposed to go.  We hung up.

David stomped up to his room to look in his bag, again.  There was a long silence.  I was in the kitchen, pressing my hands to my mouth and willing myself not to ask.  I finally called upstairs, “Did you find it?”  “NO.  IT’S NOT IN HERE.”  he was still sounding very frustrated.  What the heck?????

Then, I had a thought (through many years of problems, moms become amazingly brilliant at problem solving–if you remember, it was also my idea to call their Dad and ask him).

“Maybe he put it in Caleb’s bag by mistake.”  

We rushed to find Caleb’s bag.  We put it on the counter.  We opened the first front pocket.  No.  We unzipped the second front pocket.  And there it was.  “Stupid” was for some reason the word that came from my mouth as I walked away.  “Did you just call me stupid?” David asked.  Then I laughed, “No, I guess I’m just calling this whole situation stupid.”  The tension left the room.

By that time everyone else was in bed, the house was dark, all but a friendly glowing lamp.  David and I each got our books and read together in quiet until 9:30.  I interrupted the silence only once.

“Can you please keep your calculator in the main part of your backpack, zipped up, so it never falls out again?”  He stared at me for a moment, I held my breath.

“Okay”,  was all he calmly replied,  looking back down to the page in his book.

******

Last week I was standing on the porch, busily brushing the dog.  The kids were all at school.  Clouds of fur lazily rolled across the porch and down the steps.  I brushed one side and then the next.  We didn’t talk.   A light rain was falling.  Then, all of a sudden, a little flock of juvenile blue birds came flying over the house and landed in the yard.  My arm froze in mid-brushing.  “I know I’m supposed to be brushing your fur, but would you mind if I got my camera?” I asked politely.  He wagged his tail which I assumed meant, “Do whatever you want I’m gonna love you anyway and never ever get offended by anything you decide.”  So I turn into the house and got my camera.  As an apology, I let him take some of the photos.  I thought they turned out pretty good.

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****

Oh, one more quick story about kids losing things.  Caleb has his own kindle and every once in a while when I think he’s been on it too much I take it in my room and hide it.  Well, the two of us could not find it for days.  And I’m thinking to myself, “I’m finally losing it.  I can’t remember where I hid the thing.  I can’t even remember hiding it.”  Caleb was wandering around the house singing, “my kindle, my kindle” and it was putting me on edge.  He even slyly searched David’s room.  No luck.  Finally we asked Sarah, who was upstairs playing in her room, if she knew where it was.  “Seth has it.  He took it to school.  It’s in his backpack”  Caleb and I stared at each other and then yelled downstairs to Seth.  “Bring us your backpack, Seth.  Where is Caleb’s kindle?”  Seth looked so guilty, I rarely see a guilty expression on Seth’s face and it was ugly.  Sure enough, the kindle was in Seth’s backpack and Seth had to go into my room for a talk.  The point to this story is if you really can’t find something ask the youngest person in the family because 9 times out of 10 they know.  They have amazing observation and memory skills.  The other point is, when you feel like you’re finally losing your mind, 9 times out 10 –you’re not.  It’s just that you have lots of kids and there is no limit to what can happen in a particular day.

PS, Mom?  If you’re reading this?  I can’t find my deodorant.

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