Gran, where’s purple blankie? Honey, have you seen my briefcase? Nanny, I can’t find my______. Lisa, do you know where I set my ______ down? Like the chorus to our family song, these questions ring out with such frequency I almost don’t hear them anymore. I just begin looking, I go retrieve the missing item. Like our beasts who can sniff out a tennis ball behind the couch or under a cabinet, I just know where lost things are. No need to pray to the saint of missing items around here, it never gets that serious. Ta Da, here you go! I am the hero for a few fleeting seconds, family member reunited with item, all is well. Of course, that means these people never really are responsible for their stuff, not with a built-in finder at the ready. I previously thought this was a superpower that made me special to them, I have come to realize that it kept them from being able to search on their own, a skill they would need throughout their lives.
Being a mom to my children was more important to me than just about anything, like breathing or eating. I overdid it on many aspects and hindsight allows me to see my mistakes, attempts to swing so far away from my own childhood that I created other problems. I left my kids with deficits that now are glaring, now haunt me. In my efforts to protect them and make their lives happier, to make up for earlier trauma, I forgot to let them struggle just a bit. I forgot that they needed to learn to find stuff on their own. It feels great to be so needed in the rush of everyone’s lives, when buses are coming or carpools are waiting and I could hold up the desired book bag or sweater, but that meant they didn’t learn to look for what they wanted, they didn’t learn to miss what was gone. I thought they had enough struggle early on, I wanted to save them from anymore. Oh, Hindsight, you wicked devil. It felt so wonderful to be needed in the moment, now I am missing and they don’t know how to search for me. They can’t find their way home and back to truth and into forgiveness. I think maybe they just gave up and got replacement moms, relationships that were easier and immediate and Ta Da required little of them.
I left my children without the skills needed to stick with the search, to uncover truth like pillows on the couch, to compromise as if bending to hunt below the bed. They give up too easily, forget the fun of the hunt. I remember one birthday party when we held a scavenger hunt during Stella’s sleepover, all the girls fanned out around the neighborhood. What was expected to be an hour game quickly turned into a bust when one household went through the list and gave that pair everything on it. The girls returned triumphant, unaware that they had really lost and destroyed the game. Robbed of the opportunity to ask many times for help, one stop gave everything. The goal was not really winning, the journey was the fun part. The neighbor thought they were helping I am sure, just as I always thought I was. Kids need to learn to search and find and ask and look.
Sometimes when we search for one thing, we find a different treasure all together. I began writing to seek my own voice and have found a place where many feel heard. Each holiday season as I prepare to decorate I come across something in a closet that I forgot was stashed away, the blessing of a short memory, maybe. Still, treasures lurk waiting to be found. Exploring is the journey, finding riches in my soul I didn’t expect, finding connections to God I would have missed if I chose not to go looking. Oh how I wish I had taught the kids to seek. I can’t undo the damage with my children who are now adults. I pray they someday will learn to ferret out truth, they will become eager to seek forgiveness and dole it out like the grand prize. Ta Da! We found you, Mom! Until then, I can change my role as “Super-Finder” with Plum. He loves to explore already, it won’t take as much to help him learn to seek out what he wants most. Not so sure it will work with Chef, he is already grown. And I AM really good at finding things.
One day I pray I will find my daughter again. Ta Da! I pray my son will find his way, Ta Da! I know that God, the Great Finder of all us lost souls, has prepared the way. The best hunt ever, the most glorious find ever, a journey that will ultimately only happen with Him as the guide. So I keep looking to Him, knowing the struggle is teaching me much. There is no one place to find all that I need to get reunited with my lost children, I have tried all of my super-powers to make it so. The time is not right to find them. They have to find me. When they just can’t do without me anymore. Like Plum and his purple blankie, often he goes to find her on his own, he can’t wait until I finish my task. When their need is that great, they will look back towards home. I will be here. Just where they left me. Ta Da!
May you find what you are seeking today, may your heart be filled with joy and just enough curiosity to seek out what God is nudging you to look for. Treasures await, my friend.