And with moving day quickly approaching, Noah and I are experiencing some strange dynamics already.
Like the fact that I get attached to things I probably shouldn’t.
For example… oh, I don’t know… Noah’s toys.
I sent him to his room with one task, and one task only. “Take all of your toys and split them into two equal piles. In the first pile, put all the toys you want to keep. In the second pile, put all of the toys that you want to give to other kids.”
A nearly impossible task for a five year old.
Or so I thought. As it turned out, it was a nearly impossible task for a 32 year old big, hairy, grumbly dad.
Noah trotted off to his bedroom, excited to complete his task. I may or may not have told him that if we want room for a chinchilla in his next room, we need to get rid of some of his stuff. And, he may or may not have decided that the chinchilla was the most important thing ever.
“DAD, I’M DONE!” he screamed about an hour later. I trotted up the stairs, expecting there to be one huge pile of awesome toys and one tiny pile of crap toys.
To my astonishment, there were two pretty evenly split piles.
That was actually pretty amazing.
What sucked was that in the “give-it-away” pile, there were all sorts of things I would have expected him to keep.
Like the two-headed dragon stuffed animal I bought him a few years back. He snuggled with it every night for at least a year.
Or the dump truck we used to have so much fun with together when we had a sandbox in our backyard.
Or the big box of colorful building blocks that I slaved for days to make for him when he was three months old.
Or several of the books that we’ve stayed up late laughing through.
Or the… or the… or the…
So much awesome stuff. So much stuff that held so much sentimental value to me. All in the give-it-away pile.
And in the keep-it pile, there was crap that I couldn’t care less about. Stupid stuff. Stuff with no purpose. Stuff which I have no idea how he got at all.
I bit a hole through my lip trying not to coax him in any which way. “So, this is for sure how you want to split your piles, huh?” I said, eyeballing the building blocks and dragon more than anything.
“Are you super sure? Look hard in the pile and think if there’s anything you might want to trade out.”
He rummaged for a moment. “Dad, this is all the stuff I want to give to kids who don’t have as much as me.”
And then, I couldn’t take it any more and I stepped in. “Okay, that’s good. These are good piles. One thing to think about is that you can take those blocks and make awesome tunnels for your chinchilla to run through.”
I’m not going to get rid of the blocks. Ever.
Haha. Boy did I say the right thing. Suddenly those blocks were the coolest toys in his whole room.
I got a couple large boxes and together we put his give-away items inside. I got sad several times. And as hard as it was, I never said anything about the dragon. After all, they were his toys, it was his task, and I had to let him do it his way.
As we loaded the boxes onto the truck, I had to poke the dragon’s tail back inside. All I could think about was Toy Story and how it was probably his last ditch attempt to be noticed.
Oh, I noticed, big guy. And I’m gonna miss you. Big time.
Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing
PS. The toys were just one thing I had to very painfully get rid of to do this downsize. How is moving day for you when it comes to such things? Have you ever given away something that made you sad? Have you ever kept something you shouldn’t just because there was sentimental value attached to it?