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“Seven Jackets Lost — and Totally Forgotten”

If your child, like mine, single-handedly keep the school’s lost and found bin overflowing with hoodies, jackets, and hats, then you might appreciate this story of the day all of my son’s lost clothing came home to roost — and roast.

The other day, Jayden arrives home from school wearing seven jackets. He walks in the front door, covered head to toe in sweat and panting, and looking like he’d gained fifty pounds since breakfast. He takes off his backpack and begins un-layering, starting with the outer layer of heavy coats, then the jackets, and finishes with the hoodies.

“Uh, son?” I say.

“Hi, Dad. How’s it going?” he says. He gives me a smile, which suggests he’s unaware of anything odd or unusual.

I look him over head to toe a few times and say, “What, uh… Why are you wearing so many jackets?”

He gives me a puzzled look. “Remember this morning? You said I better go through lost and found and bring home my jackets.”

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“ALL of these jackets were in the school’s lost and found?!” I say.

He bows his head, which is his typical non-verbal apology. “Buddy, you look ridiculous!” I’m shaking my head, half mind-boggled and half laughing.

Meanwhile, Laurie is literally rolling on the floor laughing. When she finally catches her breath, she says to me, “Honey, you specifically told him he better bring home everything from lost and found.”

“But he didn’t have to WEAR them all home!” I turn to Jayden. “Couldn’t you have carried some of them or stuffed a couple in your backpack?!”

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“I dunno. I guess so,” he says. Then he put his hand on his forehead and swoons. “I’m a little dizzy. Can I have a drink of water?”

I leap off the couch, guide him to the kitchen, and pour him a glass of lemonade. As I watch the color come back to his face, I ponder how so many coats remain at school.

In Texas, the weather can change pretty drastically during a seven-hour school day. It might be in the 40s at morning drop-off and jump to the 70s by afternoon pickup. So the school’s lost-and-found can quickly become a graveyard of forgotten coats, hats, and gloves. For a kid with a diagnosed deficiency in attention, an entire winter wardrobe might (and usually does) wind up there.

“You OK, buddy?” I ask him.

He takes a deep breath. “Yep.” Then he hands me his cup and races off.

[I’m Not Irresponsible — I Just Lose Things!]

I stare at the cup for a moment and wonder, I still don’t understand how the boy can forget about so many jackets. Then I walk out of the kitchen and past the front door, where I see his backpack and seven jackets sprawled out all over the floor. And I realize, Oh, that’s how.

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