For a brief time we were a family of three. Me, R, and our first born son who taught us everything we needed to know about parenting. (At least until #2 came long but that’s another story.)
M was an easy-going baby and had no problems at the day care of the gym or later at the preschool on base. Any separation anxiety came directly from me.
One morning we went to WalMart and had breakfast at the Mickey D’s. He was finally mature enough to sit during a meal in public. Those of you who have kids may have gone through something similar. We learned the hard way that we either took turns eating at restaurants (one ate while the other paced with the boy if he acted up) or we just didn’t go at all.
Imagine our surprise when in one quick swoop M stood up in his chair and pulled down his pants. R was sitting next to him and probably said, “What the…?” and pulled up his pants.
Sure, it’s funny now but we were new parents. Little did we know of the antics to come.
R and I were determined not to spoil him but it was hard not to. Like so many other kids who grow up next to a Barnes & Noble, M loved Thomas the Tank Engine. Couldn’t get enough of them. He watched the show, we rented DVD’s for him, and we even built his collection of Thomas trains, one wooden figure at a time.
M could sing every song. He knew the names of dozens of trains, if not all. When we took him to the zoo or an amusement park, we always bought tickets for the train. He even had a train conductor hat and a whistle that I heard several hundred times a day.
And so it pained me today to look at these wooden trains and tracks this afternoon. Decluttering is easy for me since the kids have dozens of toys, the majority they have played with only once, but this was different.
This represented a young family thousands of miles away from their own, a first born who decided that he was his own person with his own personality and interests, and a time when he was a baby. A time that so far gone that a decade passed far too quickly to comprehend.
Our son M now has two digits in his age and his interests have taken him beyond Playhouse Disney, beyond anything that little boys play with. He reads chapter books, constructs complex and dramatic scenes out of Legos, and creates homemade board games out of index cards and construction paper.
I don’t wish for anything different, save for the longing that R could have been here beside me to witness the decade that passed at warp speed (that I would lessen tremendously), but I love reminiscing about that time so much it hurts. It hurts even more when R and I remember together.
So no, I will not be giving away those beloved toys. These we will save for their children so ours will be able to remember this time too.