On the ninth day of Christmas, my true loves gave to me nine yummy cookies, eight hours’ cleaning, seven minutes’ crying, six undone advents, a five seater Volvo SUV…..four Diego drawings, three tasty treats, two U.S. passports and a mushy brain with no memory
The Gort has a bright yellow jacket. Which allows me to spot him from far away. Yesterday, as I approached the Kindergarten pick up line, I could see my oldest hanging by the rail. Grey and white fleece hat on his head. Yellow jacket. And pale white – gloveless – hands – equally visible from far away.
Why wasn’t the kid wearing his mittens? More specifically, why was the kid grabbing fistfuls of snow with his bare hands?
Annoyed, I approached him. ‘Hey…..where are your mittens?’
‘I lost them,’ he reported. ‘What do you mean you lost them? ‘They were by my boots and then I couldn’t find them,’ he explained.
‘I’m freezing,’ he wailed, holding his hands aloft as the last bits of snow had turned to finger-numbing slush. ‘That’s why you shouldn’t pick up snow if you’re not wearing mittens,’ I reasoned.
Big deal, the kid lost a pair of mittens, some other people might say – people who don’t have tendencies towards obsessive compulsive disorder about keeping pieces and sets of things together.
It wasn’t that he had lost a pair of mittens. It was that he’d lost the mittens that go with his hat. That’s why it bothered me.
It’s the same obsessiveness that drives me to dig through piles of leaves and household to find the head of a penguin matriushka. It actually happened again on Sunday. The boys had played with the matriushka and the penguin had once again been rendered headless. Two days later I’d given up hope that head and body would be reunited. When, during my advent cleaning frenzy, I found the little penguin head sandwiched between two file boxes.
‘Could this day get any better?!’ I announced cheerfully. As if something really great had happened. ‘Let me guess….you found the penguin head,’ the professor replied. He’s gotten used to my ‘eccentricities’.
When we got home from school, I checked the pockets of the Gort’s coat. Just ‘in case’. And the insides of his boots. No mittens there. ‘Luckily’ we had to go back to school after dinner, for a card-making event. Which meant I could continue my search for the missing pieces of fleece. As fate would have it, the janitor was in the hallway when we arrived at the school.
‘Do you have a lost and found?’ I asked him. ‘We lost a pair of mittens,’ I explained. Even though we didn’t. ‘We sure do,’ he replied as he unlocked the door leading to the hallway which houses the enormous lost and found area.
I rifled through the first bin. It contained a mound of sweaters and scarves and who knows what else. But no white and grey fleece mittens. I skimmed the standing coat-rack, which was dedicated to missing jackets. I glanced at the big tub full of lunchboxes. And lonely mittens hanging on hooks. All just waiting to be reclaimed, by their apparently un-OCD owners.
We stopped outside his classroom, where the coat hooks and inside shoes reside. No mittens there, either. My only recourse – save ‘giving up’ – was to write a note to the teacher and see if the mittens had made their way to the classroom.
Defeated, we sauntered back to the gym where we made our cards. And then we drove home in the snow.
When we got home, he went to bed and I tidied up. On a whim, I grabbed his backpack, just to see…..
Sure enough, there they were: two ‘lost’ mittens.
And then I was mad.