Jane found my keys! I repeat: Baby Jane found my keys! They were buried under all the tablecloths in the linen drawer in the kitchen. Why didn’t I think of that? If she hadn’t been in her “empty every cabinet and drawer I can reach” phase of life, they would still be lost today. And that library DVD that’s four weeks overdue? The one I couldn’t find anywhere? Stashed and abandoned under the mountain of no-longer-needed snow clothes clogging up the hall closet. Of course it was. Because if you need to put away a DVD, that’s where DVDs go. 

The point is, I can saunter into my library today with my head held high (and my checkbook out.) We are reading Rick Riordan’s 39 Clues for our bedtime reading ritual and I simply must check out the next clue quick or we will be stuck in this cliffhanger forever. We need resolution!

As if the recovery of these lost items wasn’t enough to give my mommy-step a little bounce, the mom in charge of my oldest son’s soccer practice last week stopped me in the street to tell me how “obedient” and “on-task” my son was at practice the other day. She didn’t sound sarcastic. In fact, I was too gobsmacked to respond. I wanted to say, “My kid? Are you serious?” But that would’ve sounded too harsh. After all, he is a good boy. Just a bit like a hyper dog that needs to be walked a lot. 

To put this in perspective, I recently transferred our old home movies taken with those tiny Hi-8 tapes to DVD. As we were watching a little four year old Andy, a two year old Kate and a barely walking Luke tumble around the screen, my husband and I found ourselves saying things like, “Sit down Andy, we can’t see. Leave her alone Andy, we can’t hear. Settle down Andy, or we’ll have to turn this off.” As we were repeating these old-hat warnings, we heard our own, younger voices reverberate through the speakers those exact same phrases–only six years earlier: Sit down Andy. Leave her alone Andy. Settle down Andy or we’ll have to turn this thing off. It was as though nothing had changed! When we realized the stark parallel, we burst into laughter, half out of amusement, half out of a nervous fear that things would never change!! Whatever we’ve been doing, our parenting tactics are obviously not working!

So to hear from another mom that my boy was “obedient” and “on-task” in an environment where it would be very easy for a ten year old boy to run absolutely wild (in an open, hot field with half a dozen other ten year old boys with only two moms running the drills because their coach couldn’t make the practice,) well…it was good to hear. 

There are no performance reviews, raises, or opportunities for promotions for us moms, so we need to bask in these little victories when they come our way. Like today, I can’t wait to drive to the library and lock the doors with my key chain (beep-beep), return the lost item and thereby put a stop to their nasty little overdue e-mails once and for all, and all the while breathe easy knowing my oldest is probably being “obedient” and “on-task” at school today. Yes, life is good.

I’ll think about the mystery of my lost frying pan tomorrow. Seriously. How do you misplace a large frying pan? It was my favorite too.

Margaret Anderson is a BYU graduate, returned missionary, freelance writer, wife and the mother of five small children. Read more at www.jamsandpickles.wordpress.com