I'm a mom who likes to stay on top of things if I can, even to the point of knowing what my kids wear to school. But it is obvious that not all parents are like me.
On Friday, when I came to pick up the kids, my youngest ran to the car without his jacket; he'd forgotten it in the schoolyard and went to retrieve it...but it wasn't there where he'd left it with his knapsack and lunchbox. He checked the lost and found, as well as his classroom, but it wasn't there.
There was, however, a very similar jacket, just a shade darker, lying there on the cold concrete near to where my son had left his jacket. Believing that there had been a switchoff done in error by a kid, I took that jacket, assuming and hoping that my son's jacket would appear in the school's lost and found on Monday and I'd leave this jacket in its place.
I got home and looked closer at the jacket; on first glance, it really looked the same as my son's, but a shade darker, a different store label affixed to it and a couple sizes smaller than my son's. And there was no name.
My son's jacket does have his name and phone number, so it's easily identifiable.
If in fact, this was a case of mistaken jacket identity, I couldn't understand that a parent wouldn't notice the difference in jackets or spot our family name in our jacket.
So throughout the weekend, I hoped I was correct and that Noam's jacket would show up in the lost and found on Monday or Tuesday.
It didn't...but I did the right thing and left the other jacket in the lost and found.
But you wouldn't believe the items that appear in those big baskets, just waiting to be claimed by their rightful owners.
There are countless school uniform jackets, and designer jackets, hats and gloves, and lunchboxes.
Please tell me how a child, however old or young, can lose a lunchbox and not realize it or not have a parent realize it or think, "Perhaps my son/daughter left it at school. I'd better check the lost and found." Does a child not think that they need a lunchbox for the next day? And if the lunchbox is labeled, as I saw on several of them, it is so much easier to claim.
Okay, so the school jackets all look the same, but many are labeled. Don't you think to even give a quick peek in the lost and found?
I recall losing a winter hat when I was in kindergarten. I looked in the school's lost and found many times without success. When I was in grade one, I checked it again, and what do you think I found? Yes, my hat. Better late than never...!
There are many wealthy families at the kids' school; perhaps they don't notice when an item goes missing or perhaps they don't care. And my guess is that many of the kids don't care enough either if they lose something 'cause they know it'll get replaced.
Each term, I believe, before Chanukah, Pesach and the end of school, the administration takes a day and displays all the lost and found articles for parents/kids to come and look at and claim whatever is theirs. All the items that go unclaimed are donated to charity.
Perhaps it's somewhat silly to think that a kid didn't bring a lunch to school for three months 'cause her lunchbox went missing; perhaps a child's fingers were numb over the month of February because his gloves went missing when the weather was cold. But it's sillier to think that people don't even consider checking the lost and found until it's too late.
I'm still hoping my son's jacket will turn up at school. In the meantime I told him to keep an eye on the kids in the schoolyard and see if he spots anyone wearing what looks like his jacket. If he spots it, he is not to accuse anyone, "That's MY jacket," but to say rationally that he thinks it's his jacket and let him check it for his name.
I'm also hoping that by the first "clean sweep of the year" of the lost and found, most of the items will have already been rightfully claimed by students, nannies, and parents.