Will My Teens Turn to Me When “Lost?” I Hope So.

*Tissue warning*

Ah, the good ‘ole “Lost and Found” basket at schools, at homes, at wherever.

I, of course, naturally thought about this basket soon after I thought about myself being “Lost and Found.” Because well, you all know the random connections my brain makes and also, with the end of the school year approaching way too quickly, the “Come check Lost and Found one more time” email reminders are as plentiful as ever.

The emails always make me chuckle as they reflect the trends for the year; you know, the things the teens absolutely had to have. This year? Well this years’ photos were especially funny; fancy water bottles to keep water super, duper, wicked cold, next to “hoodies” to keep one super, duper, wicked warm and cozy. Lol. I love teens. And kids. Especially my kids. Why? Lots of reasons but mostly because of alllll the photos…between all the schools…and yet not one of our missing water bottles can be found. Where oh where did they go? To the land of the spoons and phone chargers? One shall never know….

But I shall always know this.

And this deep thought came to me as I ended my walk on Sunday and it led me to tears. So here is where you grab the tissues (I had none, so sleeve it was.)

The beauty of the “Lost and Found” basket in the schools – and at hotels, and concerts, and everywhere you go, is that everyone knows that they exist. Everyone knows that there is a place to go when you lose what matters to you. And additionally, there are always meeting points and places you know to go when you are literally, lost.

I want to be the “Lost and Found” basket for my sons.

I guess I am the basket already (literally at night and figuratively otherwise.)

I am always there.
Even when empty,
when my kids are doing fine
and are on their ways
and doing well in their worlds
and not lost at all, I am there.
I remain.

Like a “Lost and Found” basket,
I am never put away.
I patiently wait for when I am needed, for when my children feel lost
and need help finding their way, however that looks.

Whether it be when they feel overwhelmed and lost in school, and need help studying so they feel confident again.

Whether it be when they feel confused and lost in a social matter, and need help navigating it so they feel comfortable.

Whether it be when they feel down and out and lost in life in general, and need help… NOPE… just need a listening ear so they feel less alone.

Or, whether it be when they feel frustrated because they literally lost something that mattered to them and need help finding it, so they feel less anxious. (Oh I get this. And oh I want to lecture on responsibility but my kids are as human as I am when it comes to misplacing things – it simply happens sometimes and when it does, I am there to help them.)

Whatever it is, whenever it is, I hope to always be the “Lost and Found” basket for my sons – the place they know that is always there to go to when they feel lost.

And I hope that when they move on to college (way sooner that I am ready to admit) and then onto their own lives and go on walks like I did and realize they are lost on a greater scale, that they still call me.

And I know that what I do today, will directly impact whether or not I get that phone call in the future. So I continue to focus on developing a strong, trusting, loving relationship with my teens (as I did when they were little ones.)

I continue to work on…

Connecting before “correcting.”
Listening more, lecturing less. (oof this is hard)
Working with them, not against them. (Same team!)
Taking things less personal, period, so I don’t overreact and escalate matters.
Remembering they are humans too – with good days and bad days, just like me.
Focusing on what matters, what really, really matters.
And making relationship repairs after I have yelled or made a mistake because if I don’t, my “Lost and Found” basket will end up with lots of rips and tears and holes in it. And I don’t want that. It is a privilege to figuratively be my childrens’ “Lost and Found” basket and I so want to remain as such. So repairs I make, as frequent as needed.

Finding my way as an adult is hard.
Finding my way when I was a teen was hard.
Finding my way AS A PARENT of a TEEN is hard.

I can only imagine how my teens feel finding their way in this world.
And so I remain.
As the “Lost and Found” basket.

Always there.
Always waiting,
even when not needed,
so that I am ready for the moment I am.

Sending warmth and strength to you today and always,


Warmth today if you are feeling the feels of the thought of your kiddos going of into the world soon,

Strength today if your child is feeling lost and you currently are there for them, remaining, listening, supporting, just being. I know how hard it is to be there. It is heartbreaking. So I send you strength (and love, lots of love, to you and your child.)

All my best,
The Orange Rhino

(And fear not dear Fellow Orange Rhinos, this lovely sign does not always exist so crisp and perfect. In fact, it doesn’t exist! It was made solely for the purpose of this picture. I wrote this post as part of yesterday’s post and decided to make it its own. Then I decided that the post needed a picture. And then well, filling the basket – which yes does exist as a “Mom’s Lost and Found Basket” was super easy to fill. It contains a hat, an iPad, a t-shirt, some socks. Actually, lots of socks. And no, no missing water bottles. Or spoons. Or chargers.)

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