The way that we constantly lose things at our house grates on me. Of course, with two children some of this is to be expected. I understand that. I don’t sweat it too much when we lose a hair clip or an itty bitty sock. I realize that the magnetic alphabet stuck to the fridge will be down 3 letters in the first 24 hours. I don’t expect that every item we own will always be accounted for.
Not every item we lose is all that small, though. Many of them are far too large to fit under the dryer or get shoved down a heating vent. And yet they just up and vanish. We regularly lose things like CD cases, board books, phones and toddler puzzle pieces with giant wooden knobs. Often, I know I have seen these things. I have some recollection of viewing the item in question. And yet, try as I might, I can’t quite resolve when or where. The chaos of my life has combined with my sketchy memory, and I am out a vacuum brush.
The fish piece with the giant knob went missing over a year ago
I am just neurotic enough to take it personally when a puzzle is missing a piece or a CD is missing its case. It peeves me to think of it sitting there, incomplete. I would love nothing more than to have it all back together as its maker intended. I rip apart toy boxes and utility closets in pursuit of that misplaced thing that would make the world right. I rarely find it.
Occasionally, I do manage to uncover some long-lost item in the most unexpected place. I joke with my husband Jon, and say things like, “I can’t believe I didn’t check for the Wiggles DVD in the shoe cupboard! What was I thinking?” Then I glare at the children, because I’m pretty sure I didn’t put the DVD in the shoe cupboard. And the cat is lacking the necessary opposable thumbs. Process of elimination, kiddos.
Jon’s favourite vacuum brush has gone on walkabout
I am the only one in my house who takes it personally when a toy is missing a part. The kids did the disassembling in the first place. Jon doesn’t like it when he can’t find something he needs, but he’s completely unconcerned if the Fisher Price ring stacker has only 4 of the original 5 rings. When a ring turns up, he’s just as likely to throw it into a drawer as re-assemble the ring stacker. I feel this is 15 different kinds of wrong, but he disagrees. He believes that the perfect is the enemy of the good, and a clean floor trumps all. But in my soul I need that ring stacker to proudly display its rings in perfection.
I can see that my desire to know where every puzzle piece is at all times does not enhance my life. As things are right now, puzzles will miss pieces in spite of my best efforts. Accepting it and moving on would be the smart thing to do. I could join Jon in throwing toys into the toy box and preserve my sanity. But I can’t bring myself to do it. Failing to reunite all pieces of a toy just saddens me too much.
Tell me, how do you handle missing stuff? How do you view a missing puzzle piece? Are you able to shrug and move on, or do you take it as personally as I do?