When something goes missing around my house — an event that occurs daily — we don’t call Sherlock Holmes or borrow the bloodhounds from the set of Cool Hand Luke. We call my daughter, 14, who has an uncanny ability to find things that have been lost.
We call her “The Finder,” and I really believe she might have a career in detective work.
Has the TV remote vanished? That’s so easy she will locate it in nanoseconds, rolling her eyes at my stupidity.
Has her brother lost his (fill in the blank here) yet again? She’ll go into his room, navigating around and under the piles of clothes, dirty dishes, empty wrappers and wet towels carpeting his floor, and emerge with the missing (fill in the blank), triumphantly holding it over her head like a trophy.
That is, unless she was the one who swiped it in the first place, in which case it will never be seen again.
I’ve long since given up negotiating children’s disputes over who took what. Unless the FBI knocks on the door with a warrant, I just stay out of it.
It’s a good thing that the rescue patrols searching for the castaways marooned on “Gilligan’s Island” didn’t have my daughter along, or Lovey Howell never would have had time to wear those 3,000 outfits she brought along for the three-hour tour.
This all started when she was about 4 years old, not long after I adopted her and her brother. As usual, her older brother started hollering that he couldn’t find his baseball cleats.
I have an unusual attitude toward children and their missing items: I consider it their problem.
I was 46 when I became a mom for the first time, and that was way too old to be combing through piles of kid-created archeological sites, looking for missing soccer jerseys and snow boots.
My attitude has always been: Can’t find it? Can’t go.
It’s amazing how children can find things they need for an outing when the alternative is to stay home.
Yes, there’s lots of sobbing and hysterical outbursts. I really don’t care. I go in my bedroom and read a book. Occasionally, I’ll suggest a place to look.
That’s when Curly Girl first got her chops as a finder, discovering she had nearly mystical powers to intuit where those basketball shorts were lurking, and bring them back alive.
Luckily for my son, who’s been known to lose clothes while he’s still wearing them, his sister has these amazing superpowers.
The only time I can recall that her superpowers failed was when Cheetah Boy was maybe 13, and late for his soccer game. The reason he was tardy was that, for the 13th game in a row, he had misplaced his soccer jersey, despite my wise and repeated reminders to put it away in his team sports drawer.
After the outbursts, and the frantic searching, and the tears, I finally made him call his coach and confess that he’d lost his jersey. Luckily, the coach had an extra one he could borrow, so we raced over to the field.
Later, he found the jersey, which for a reason known only to his warped adolescent brain, had been shoved between his mattress and his box spring.
But that was Curly Girl’s only failure, except for the times I’ve demanded she find something that wasn’t there.
“Really, I insist you find those ski bibs before we go up to the snow country.”
“Mom, I don’t have any ski bibs anymore. I outgrew them all, and you gave them away.”
I usually refuse to admit I’m wrong and make her look for something that’s not there, which only works in Las Vegas magic shows.
But eventually, I have to confess that she was right.
Sorry, Curly Girl, I should have placed more trust in your superpowers. And, someday, I’ll help you get that private detective’s license.
Marla Jo Fisher was a workaholic before she adopted two foster kids several years ago. Now she juggles work and single parenting, while being exhorted from everywhere to be thinner, smarter, sexier, healthier, more frugal, a better mom, better dressed and a tidier housekeeper. Contact her at email@example.com. Follow her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/FrumpyMiddleagedMom and on Twitter @FrumpyMom.