"Mom," my younger son called from the stairs. "Do you know where I can find some clean socks?"
I gave him my best exasperated mom look. "Have you checked your sock drawer?"
"Nope. I'll check there," he called over his shoulder as he started back up the stairs, two at a time.
"Wait a minute," I called after him. "Why didn't you check there first?"
"Because you always know where everything is and I didn't want to waste time looking in the wrong place." He was giving me his best exasperated teenager look.
It's true though. I do always seem to know where everything is. From karate uniforms to scotch tape, missing books and favorite shirts, chances are good that I know right where it is.
"Mom? Do you know where my shoes are?" My answer: "The front hallway by the door."
"Mom. Have you seen my green shirt?" My answer: "It's in the laundry."
"Mom. I can't find a blue pen." My answer: "Look in the cup in the school cabinet."
"Hey, Mom. I need the duct tape, a hatchet, and a flashlight." My answer: "The kitchen drawer, hanging up on the back porch, and... check your brother's room I think he had it last... and we probably need to talk before you go out in that ski mask."
My husband even relies on my uncanny sense of where everything is located. "Hon, do you know where I put those super important tax documents?" My answer: "Check the hall table."
I understand why they've started to come to me first. It's the subject of a running family joke just how fast I can put my fingers on someone's missing possessions. There have been more hour-long searches for missing socks, gloves, school books, remote controls, art supplies, recipe ingredients, sports equipment, and paper clips by a simple question to Mom. I am regularly able to instantaneously locate the very thing they've torn the house apart looking for.
Why can I keep up with the many possessions, both necessary and frivolous, of five other human beings, but am constantly losing my own?
Maybe it's because my brain is already crammed to brimming over, full of class schedules and to-do lists, my mind too preoccupied with meeting the physical and emotional needs of my family. Maybe I spend too much time worrying about nutrition and education and character development and making sure they have clean underwear. My mental energy is rapidly consumed by refereeing sibling rivalry and ensuring internet safety, worrying about their futures and whether they feel safe and loved. Maybe there's just no room left over to keep up with my own stuff.
My older children like to make fun of my exceptional ability to misplace my car keys. They laugh at me. They think I'm silly. They joke about my increasing age and my growing level of senility.
Perhaps next time they lay into me with their teenager sarcasm and eyerolls, I'll just ask them if they know where to find any clean socks.