It’s winter in Chicago, and I have two children. Add that up, and it means that I’ve scoured the school for boots three times, we’ve lost four hats, and 6 pairs of gloves/mittens so far, with one pair of snowpants that disappeared only to reappear later. Fortunately, the boots were all found (eventually), as well. Gloves and hats? Not so much.
And we aren’t alone. When you take a look at the lost and found at the wee ones’ school, it’s depressing. There are separate bins for hats, boots, and gloves. There are two full size racks for hanging items, ranging from sweatshirts to winter coats to pants. Atop the racks are shelves for the lost water bottles and lunch boxes, books and umbrellas.
Wait. How do you lose pants? And your winter coat? I digress.
Every bin is full. There were eleven pairs of boots there when I last searched that bin. Digging through the gloves and hats is a task unto itself. Periodically, children find their items in the lost and found, but more often than not, the items go unclaimed. The parents, I’m sure, are annoyed, but they simply replace the lost (fill in the blank).
We’ve been lucky in that we tend to manage to find our lost items eventually. This year, however, we’ve had a hard time with gloves. We haven’t recovered a single pair, but when they’re plain black gloves just like everyone else’s plain black gloves, I suppose this isn’t a huge shock.
Last Friday, my husband went to school to track down Mister Man’s missing homework. And boots. I had refused, as I’d already gone back to school Wednesday and Thursday in search of missing homework – both days I had picked the wee ones up from school and directly asked them if they had their lunch boxes, snack boxes, homework, assignment notebooks, boots, gloves, hats, snowpants, etc. You can understand why they might have forgotten homework, right?
I was done on Friday, so my husband drew the short straw. In addition to forgetting his homework (again) and boots, Mister Man had once again lost his gloves. When my husband returned home, he had no homework (he couldn’t find it) or boots (he couldn’t find them), but he did have a new pair of gloves.
My husband had gone shopping in the lost and found.
I would feel more guilty about it if kids actually found their lost items and searched it. I’d feel worse if the school didn’t have bins and bins that volunteers go through multiple times per year and sort before donating. That said, if I were going to “borrow” a pair of gloves like this, I might not have chosen the pair that my husband did.
When he showed them to me, I sighed and looked at him. Dude. If I were going to purloin (I adore that word, don’t you? It isn’t used nearly often enough) a pair of gloves from school, I would have chosen a nondescript pair of plain black gloves.
Blank look. Blinking.
I sighed. He’s going to wear them, and some kid is going to come up to him at recess and say, ‘Hey! Those are my gloves. You stole my gloves.’ And then Mister Man is going to deny it because you gave them to him and you just told him that you “bought” a new pair of gloves for him. It’s going to get ugly.
So the gloves stayed, against my better judgement. I went to dinner with a friend and her kids the next night, and I told her the story, knowing that she would find the humor in it. I got to the part where I explained that my husband had found the most distinctive gloves possible when she interrupted me.
What did they look like? she asked.
Wait, what? Now it was my turn for the blinking. Ummm they had a skeleton sort of on the backs of the-
And were they black with grey bones? she interrupted again.
Uhhhhhh. Are these by chance your gloves? I asked, the delicious irony of it all not escaping me in the least.
Yes, they’re Liam’s (not his real name) gloves! He lost them a couple weeks ago. Ironically I bought them for him because I figured there was no way the kid could lose such distinctive looking gloves.
And that, my friends, is why you don’t borrow gloves from the lost and found at your school. Or at least if you do, you make sure they’re not distinctive and will never be claimed by another family.