Do you find yourself continually searching for the most mundane things? I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time looking for my car keys. But only when I am in a hurry. It must be an axiom that you only lose things when you are in a hurry and have no time to look for them. Do you dial your cell phone from your land line because you can't find your cell phone? I do.
When I taught school, I was always conscious of my grade book, making sure it was with me at all times. It took me about two weeks after school was out to realize I didn't have a grade book and didn't have to frantically look for it.
Sometimes when I am hurried, I get into the car going over a list of things I have to do in my mind and suddenly realize I am not driving in the right direction. One day last week I tried to open my back door with the clicker that unlocks my car.
I don't blame these lapses of memory on my age. I blame them on the fact that I sometimes have so much to do that my mind just can't keep all the information it needs in it at one time.
Children also seem to misplace things frequently, particularly toys. But I think their lack of concern over misplaced toys is not due to their hectic schedule, though some children do have hectic schedules. Their lack of concern stems from the fact that they don't realize how often parents sacrifice to purchase the missing item.
I spent over three hours last week looking for a doll at my daughter's house. A particular doll. We went over that house from top to bottom at least two times. With my granddaughter's help we emptied closets and toy bins. We moved packages under the tree. We, well my granddaughter, squirmed under beds. My daughter kept swearing that the doll was not in the house and made her daughter go ask her friends if she had left the doll at their houses.
Why was finding this doll so important? Well, part of my granddaughter's presents from Santa included dresses for this particular doll, and without the doll what was Santa to do, my daughter kept mumbling as we looked for the doll.
My granddaughter cried and said she didn't know where the doll was and that she couldn't remember what she had done with it. The doll in question was finally found under a stack of clothes in a rocking chair. I discovered it, but my daughter, not my granddaughter, probably put it there.
I was reminded of a similar incident involving that same daughter when she was little. It was late fall, and I had just purchased two new pairs of black patent Mary Janes, a pair for each of my daughters. The shoes were to be reserved for dress-up occasions and Sunday school.
My younger daughter was enamored with those new shoes and kept dragging the box of shoes out of her closet and trying them on. Naturally, when the appropriate time came to wear the shoes out in public, they were no where to be found.
I must have turned my house upside down at least a half a dozen times in two weeks looking for those shoes. My daughter seemed as unconcerned and clueless about those shoes as my granddaughter did about her doll.
My daughter to me, "Don't worry, Mama; Santa will bring me a new pair of shoes."
It took a lot of teeth gritting not to explain to my daughter that Santa was not going to foot the bill for those shoes - I was.
The funny thing was my daughter turned out to be correct.
After Thanksgiving when we moved a sofa to put up the Christmas tree, lo and behold, there were those black Mary Janes, pristine and still in their box, under the sofa.
We put up the tree in a room that was rarely used, and I had not searched it thoroughly.
But as my daughter said, Santa did, indeed, bring her a new pair of Mary Janes.
Paula Travis is a Newton County resident and retired schoolteacher. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.