Tears and Laughter: Little Treasures

I caught myself saying it again last week. I said it had been my little boy’s birthday. Which, it had been. He just isn’t all that little anymore. At 15, he now stands a full two inches taller than me.

His little sister isn’t all that little anymore either. At 11, she doesn’t even care to have a toy box anymore. None of them do. Sure there are still Beanie Babies on shelves and row after row of books, but not too many toys are left. They have surrendered to a pair of hamsters, satellite television, and a laptop.

I am the one with the toy box now. I don’t take them out and play with them yet. But probably one day I will, when I am old. One day, when it doesn’t sting my eyes so much to look through them.

For now, I just collect them as they come, wondering each time I add one if it will be the last. I’ve been keeping them for years, even when the older two were small. Never anything big, usually something they have gifted me that I value, like the Christmas pen McKenzie gave me for my birthday in May, or something they decided to toss that I couldn’t watch go.

All of them together fit in a box an evening bag came in. It holds them well I’ve always thought, not unlike treasures.

I have a fine collection of hand designed necklaces. There are foam shapes on fishing line, colored pasta on thread, a strand of shiny metallic red Mardi Gras beads, and a wooden Jesus fish on a black nylon string.

And a ring. I have a plastic silver ring that has a huge blue jewel in it. Melissa gave to me because she thought it looked like the one from the Titanic movie.

I have two finger puppets. One is blue and smiling. The other is pink and is not. I think. Really both mouths are glued on crooked, so I don’t know, but I like them.

I kept a miniature Yogi Bear card game somebody got in a kid’s meal and didn’t claim, a whistle on a yellow chord I got tired of hearing, and a small tin filled with rusty square-tipped nails Miranda would search for after heavy rains where an old barn used to be out back. She called them treasures too. There is a little bitty pair of horses, a bouncy ball from a bubblegum machine, and a tiny Lego man wearing a hard hat.

McCay used to keep Lego’s on the dining room table. They were there for years, these toy buildings of his. We called it “Lego City” and he spent countless hours in this world he created. We wouldn’t even move them for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Nobody ever complained though, and he always gave everybody a tour.

My mother told me to just let him play, that they would be gone soon enough. And she was right. One day out of nowhere it was gone. He took them down and packed them away with a laugh, like he was suddenly too old for it all.

I guess I should be happy to have the dining room table back. It allows for extra room, no need to crowd around the kitchen table anymore. And I will be, as soon as I can quit missing him being in there…lost in his world of play.

Amanda Walker is a columnist with The West Alabama Watchman, Al.com, The Thomasville Times, and The Wilcox Progressive Era. For more information, visit her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AmandaWalker.Columnist.