For years, I blamed my symptoms on my children. Or my housecleaning service (that long-lost luxury--sigh). I even went so far as faulting some malicious demon that apparently lurked in small places such as pockets and purses.
But now, I realize what's truly responsible is a progressive and debilitating disease.
I have, what's known in layman's terms, as "Chronic Lost Keys Syndrome."
The diagnosis comes as a relief, really. At least I know my own actions, in no way, can be blamed.
My mother--bless her heart--has been plagued by the condition for years. Not comprehending that what we were witnessing signaled a serious hereditary disorder, my sisters and I offered her little compassion. We rolled our eyes, exchanging knowing glances behind her back.
Until we started suffering the same symptoms.
After I began losing my keys two or three times a week, I knew it was more than simple carelessness. I am the Queen of Organization. I make beaucoup lists. I know what's buried in every pile of papers on my desk. And I carry a purse in which each important item has its own special compartment.
Alas, there are no preventive measures one can take, nor any available cure, for sufferers of Chronic Lost Keys Syndrome. The most we can hope is to manage our disease, through wall-mounted key hooks and extra sets of keys hidden in safe places--locations we can only pray to recall in times of key emergencies.
And now this horrific disease has struck our own young adult children. My sisters and I have begun preparing them for what lies ahead. We try to help them cope. We attempt to show compassion.
"Have you seen my keys? I've looked everywhere!" The 22-year-old appears frantic as he searches the house. "I left them right here, I'm sure of it, but now they're gone!"
I pat his hand while fighting back a tear.
"I know, honey," I whisper. "I know."
Oh, the long and frightening road he faces.
I'm already dreading the day I have to explain he's inherited the awful "Chronic Lost Credit Card Syndrome" as well.
Are you or any of your loved ones afflicted with "Chronic Lost Keys Syndrome"? Are you famous for making beaucoup lists, or do you wing it? Are you turning into your mother, too?