(In the spirit of the talented children’s book author, Laura Numeroff, of “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” fame…)
If you buy your son a sweatshirt, chances are he’s going to want to wear it the very next day… to show off the cool neon-colored skateboard logo that is splashed across the front and back…and to keep him warm on a brisk California morning in May.
He’ll probably need to take off the sweatshirt at recess, as the sun blazes strong on the playground by the mid-morning hour.
He’ll set the shirt down in a rumpled pile near the bushes at the far end of the field. The bright mid-day sun will bounce off the neon colors of the flashy sweatshirt logo.
He’ll join in a game of “Around the World” and will throw the basketball swiftly, making his first shot. The sweat will form on his brow and he’ll swipe at it to keep the salty sting from reaching his eyes. A dirty mark will be smeared across his forehead.
The buzzer bell will sound suddenly, announcing the end of the outdoor play and urging the children to rush toward their classrooms in a vast wave of pedaling legs and pumping arms.
Later, when you pick up your son at the end of the school day, you will greet him warmly as he enters your vehicle, which will sit in the fifth spot in a lengthy line of cars, each waiting to swallow one or more of the students and carry them homeward.
You will probably glance at your son in quick review to see that all of his go-with items are in place on his body or in his hand…the lunch box tightly gripped in his fist, the loaded backpack sliding off his shoulder as he gets ready to toss it into the car, the new sweatshirt. Where’s the sweatshirt? Is it in the backpack? You will ask your son.
Your son will stop abruptly, midway through the buckling of his seat belt restraints, as he contemplates your question. You will see the faraway look in his eyes as he stares out the car window, looking to the horizon in a daze, trying to recall all of his movements from the beginning of the day to now. With lightening speed, he’ll tear off the seat belt, moan, “Oh no!” and dash from the car in search of his new hoodie.
You’ll wait patiently in your car as other cars, with the student passengers tucked safely inside, pull out of line and inch around you, maybe beeping a horn in annoyance.
Eventually, your son will return, empty handed, palms raised upward and shoulders shrugging, worry lines creasing his sweat-stained brow. He will explain, as he re-enters the vehicle and begins the process of re-buckling, that he checked the playground, the classroom and the hallway where backpacks and coats are hung. He even checked the lost and found rack, which conveniently stands off to the side of his own classroom door.
You will grit your teeth and huff and puff as you voice loudly your disapproval that yet another sweatshirt (you think maybe it’s the fourth one) has been carelessly lost by your son. You will be cranky on the ride home. Your son will remain silent, somewhat miserable in the realization that some kid from school is now going to walk around in his awesome neon hoodie. Unless, he probably thinks, he can spot it at some future time and loudly reclaim it. Unlikely, you think. Like all the other sweatshirts that have come and quickly gone in his outerwear wardrobe, it’s surely a goner! When we reach the driveway of our home, your son will tumble out of the car, quick to find an activity that keeps him as far away as possible from his irritable, sweatshirt-obsessed mother.
The next morning, when you appear more charitable and loving, the lost sweatshirt debacle of yesterday quite possibly forgotten, the son will put on an act of looking high and low at home for the cool sweatshirt before walking out the door and getting in the car for another trip to school.
You will say, voice raising slightly, “Remember, you LOST your sweatshirt at school yesterday! I want you to look EVERYWHERE for that sweatshirt again!” Your son will appear as though he is listening while you repeat your mantra, “Look for it everywhere. I repeat, look for it everywhere!” Chances are, as he opens the door to venture out into the cool California morning, he’ll say, “I’ll look for it, but if it doesn’t show up in a few days, can you buy me another one of those cool sweatshirts?”