While riding in the back seat of my mother’s car with my son during a four-hour trek to Maryland, I had an epiphany.

Anyone who has ever ridden more than an hour with a child under the age of one is probably wondering how I could hear myself think, let alone have an epiphany. But the truth is, my son has had many opportunities to practice patience (he has this wondrous imperfection for a mom after all).

But there was that short-lived snag between sleepiness and being straight over-tired where he lost his cool. I needed to distract – er, occupy – him so I gave him a notebook of mine. I figured, “Eh, it’s all material. Worst case scenario, I can just replace it.”

But then it occurred to me…exactly what would I be replacing? The notebook itself was of little importance, but what about the contents? I had no idea what kind of priceless information lay betwixt those pages…maybe I’d said stuff like that (in which case we could just burn the book).

But that’s when it happened – my epiphany. More often than not we aren’t afraid of losing something, we’re afraid we don’t actually know what we have. After all, we can’t replace what we don’t know we’ve lost, right?

It’s like when your insurance company asks you to give them an itemized list of everything you owned that was stolen in a break-in. Chances are, you didn’t catalog everything you bought and brought into your home, just like you didn’t catalog what broke, what you gave away or what was out on loan at the time of the robbery. You don’t know if that cheap plastic bangle set that your sister gave you is actually at her house because she asked you if she could wear them for a special date, or if they were in the bathroom drawer which was ransacked and most of its contents smashed to bits on the floor.

There is nothing more devastating that losing something precious except not knowing that you lost it and finding out only after some life event sends you looking for it.

So you know what I did? I took back my notebook. I let my son play with the decorative, protective shell and took inventory of everything inside. I wanted to be sure that I knew what I might be losing. As it turns out there are some great things I’d written down (nothing with betwixt, I promise) and I could’ve lost them had I left them in the very capable hands of Baby Shredder without taking a second look.

So what’s my point? Figure out what you’ve got…then back it up. Take stock of what you have. Label it, value it, protect it.

As always, I wish you nothing but the best. Good luck and Namaste.