The Case of the Missing Sheet

As far as mothers go, I got the very best one. I’m sure a lot of people may feel that way about their own mother but they are wrong, mine is the best.

When I was in first grade, I realized with nothing short of horror, that I had a tooth about to fall out of my head. I was terrified of the small amount of blood as was my teacher, who sent me to the office to our school receptionist/nurse to be dealt with. My eyes burned as they filled up with tears and all I could think was how much I wanted my Momma. I was elated when I turned around the corner and saw my mother standing in the receptionist’s office where she just happened to have stopped by. I cried as I threw myself at her. My momma walked with me to the bathroom, pulled my tooth, wiped my tears and sent me back to class.

She’s always been that way— I swear she has some sort of a sixth sense for when I need her the most and she comes.

Since I’ve had children and realized that she is in fact the smartest and most wise woman on the planet, her visits have meant even more. She shows up on my doorstep and it’s as if I’ve cloned myself. She tends to babies, cooks, cleans the kitchen and is more than happy to sit outside while the girls play and let me run errands alone.

I appreciate her more than I can put into words and I tell you all this so that I will look like less of a jerk when I say— the way she does my laundry sometimes makes me nuts.

Within five minutes of being in my house, her laundry antennae goes up. I can see her glancing around the kitchen and listening for the sounds of the washer and drier clanking in the background. Hearing nothing, she begins canvassing the house looking for dirty clothes. Returning to the kitchen with a pile under her arm, she walks into the laundry room and says with a sigh of disgust, “I can’t tell what is clean or dirty in here!”

My inner teenager huffs and I struggle so hard not to roll my eyes that I have to briefly close them. My system is pretty self explanatory. Each member of my family has a labeled laundry basket on the counter. Clothes dumped on the floor in front of the washer need to be washed. Clothes in a basket near the drier have been washed and dried but not folded and clothes in the basket under the ironing board need to be ironed. (This pile grows when I know my mom is coming to town because she doesn’t mind ironing and I hate it. And I realize I am a spoiled rotten brat.)

I want to yell at her, “I HAVE A SYSTEM!” But I don’t. Because she is going to do my laundry for me and that is a good thing. Occasionally I have to dig a pair of Emma’s underwear out of Sadie’s laundry basket but that’s zero inconvenience in relation to all the help I’m receiving.

About a year ago, my mother was visiting and in the morning I stripped my bed to wash the sheets. That afternoon I went to make my bed and the fitted sheet was missing. I dug through all the baskets, my linen closet and my daughter’s extra bedding and couldn’t find it.

“Where is my other sheet?” I asked my mom, holding up the flat sheet.

“It should be in your basket.” She said.

“It’s not. I’ve looked.”

“I wouldn’t have put it anywhere but your basket,” she was slightly annoyed.

“But it’s not there.”

We tore the house apart looking for the sheet to no avail. One fitted king-size sheet was missing in action. I was annoyed because sheets are not cheap and I had scored these particular sheets half-price at K-Mart right before Martha Stewart took her collection away from us peons and moved it to Macy’s.

For an entire year I have looked for this sheet. I have taken everything out of my linen closet more than once and repeatedly asked Momma to retrace her steps and she said the same thing, “I wouldn’t have put it anywhere but your basket or your closet.”

Last week I once again stripped my bed to wash the sheets (not for the first time in a year, I’m just sayin’) and realized it had been awhile since I’d washed my mattress pad. The pad is really thick and takes up all the room in the washer and several cycles in the drier. I pulled it off the bed and started the washer.

It was nap time, Sadie was sleeping and my two older daughters were watching cartoons. I picked up my computer and plopped down on my bare mattress to check email while everyone was quiet.

I propped up on my elbows and had just opened my laptop when something distracted me out of the corner of my eye. I glanced at the mattress. It looked like the mattress was creasing and puckering in the indentions my elbows made… like a sheet would.

“No. Way.” I whispered to myself as I reached to the corner of the mattress and tugged. The fitted sheet gave way and pulled off into my hand. I lay my head on the bed and laughed until tears were rolling down my face.

I grabbed my phone and called my mother.

“Hey!” She answered.

I could barely catch my breath, “I found my fitted sheet!”


“On my bed! You must have put it on the bed when it came out of the drier and I didn’t realize it and I put the mattress pad on top of it. I’ve been laying on it for a year wondering where it was!”

She laughed, “Well I knew I put it somewhere that made sense!”

I smiled but didn’t roll my eyes— she has a sixth sense and my basket of clothes that need to be ironed is getting pretty full.

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