It’s time for me to share my secret. I see things. Things my children and husband cannot see. You might say I’m special, that I have a gift. But all too often, it feels like a curse.
I inherited this dark power from my mother. When I was a child, I marveled at her ability to find anything, no matter how irretrievably lost it seemed to be. “The jar of pickles is right in front of you,” she would say, like some sort of conjurer. “You’re staring right at it, for god’s sake!”
My own power did not reveal itself until I, too, became a mother. Perhaps this is one of the things my mother was referring to when she told me, “Just wait till you have kids. Payback’s a bitch.”
It seems there is no item too small, too obscure, for me to locate.
“Mo-om! Where’s my Scuba Iron Man mini-fig?” came the call from my elder son the other day. Without hesitating, I replied, “It’s in your Lego storage bin—in the middle tray on the bottom row!”
It came to me so effortlessly, like a vision. Is it witchcraft? Am I some kind of Lego-finding savant? Is it because I was the one who painstakingly organized his Lego bin and designated the bottom middle tray for mini-figures? The power is a mysterious one.
“My da! My da!” cried my 2-year-old this morning, using his nickname for his pacifier, which was nowhere in sight. As if in a trance, I ascended the stairs, walked into his bedroom, reached under the crib, and pulled out the da.
Every day, I am called upon to use my power. “The green medium-size Tupperware bowl? That’s being used for kinetic sand storage at the moment. Use the red one, second cabinet from the fridge.” “Your sea creatures book is in your brother’s room on the bottom shelf.” “Your monkey pajamas are in the washing machine.” “Your ukulele is in the backseat of the van.” “The purple marker is IN YOUR HAND.”
As my children get bigger, and their belongings get smaller, my powers are often put to the test. My husband has suggested that we simply ban from our house any toy that is smaller than a basketball. But I’m virtually unstoppable. I’ve found Power Rangers half-buried in the backyard, a Matchbox car in a box of tissues, a Shopkins toaster in my nightstand drawer.
Thus far, only two items have managed to elude me: a minuscule eraser in the shape of a chick hatching from an egg, and a Lego robot mini-figure. They are out there somewhere, haunting me.
Misplaced belongings aren’t the only things that I alone can see. I see dirty socks on the living room floor, food-encrusted forks under the kitchen table, and puddles of urine next to the toilet. It’s downright eerie.
Sadly, my husband shows no sign of having the gift. Perhaps, like witchcraft, it is a woman’s power. I fear that my family has come to rely on my special ability, to—dare I say—take it for granted.
“Do we have any bologna left?” my husband asked the other day, while standing in front of the open refrigerator.
“I don’t know,” I snapped. “Why don’t you look in the cold cut drawer?”
I knew perfectly well that we didn’t have any bologna left. But sometimes a woman, even one with superpowers, gets tired. Sometimes I just want to be like everybody else. Or maybe I want everybody else to be a little bit more like me.