Monday, July 24, 2006


I imagine if Natalie or Matthew would ever have a Rosebud in their life, you know, something they fondly remember from their childhood that they suddenly can’t live without, it is somewhere in this picture. In a magnificent stroke of energy and ambition, I decided to empty out the garage of all of their toys—puzzles, plastic shapes, and games indefinitely impounded in storage until either Natalie gets too old for them or Matthew gets old enough for them, whichever comes first. There were four boxes in the garage, in addition to several more boxes of various stuffed animals hiding in numerous corners of rooms we rarely tread. While I was at it, I poured out a couple of tubs of flotsam and jetsam that collect in the bonus room, or the playroom, as Natalie refers to it… then again, she refers to several rooms in our house as “playroom” so that doesn’t narrow it down any. I suppose that is the motive for tonight’s evacuation of toys and all of the paraphernalia that goes along with them, as I don’t want to have that kind of house where every room looks like a different department of Toy’s R Us, where all of the toys are opened and scattered down the aisle as if a tornado recently visited. Since I seem to be the only one in the house that enjoys walking into a room without the fear of stumbling on some doll or breaking a toe on the corner of a Little People high-rise condominium complete with helipad, coffee bar, bank with optional ATM and attached housing association office, then it was up to me to cull the herd… well, it was up to me to get the ball rolling and then toss it to Kara to do the final selection.

I don’t swear much, especially now that I’ve got a language sponge mimicking my every word, but when it’s three in the morning and I have to break my toe back the other direction so it straightens out again, some explicatives are bound to escape in the still of the early morning. Of course, for weeks thereafter, I never realized how many times it was possible to crash my littlest toe into the corners of tables, the baseboards in the hall, the scale in the bathroom or a chair leg in the kitchen until after I broke it and I’m too cheap to see a doctor about it. Then again, Dr. Rico told me they would only tape it to the one next to it and send me on my way; I could do that and save myself the co-pay, but lacking the proper tape of course, I soon discovered that electrical tape doesn’t stick to my foot so I suffered with every step.

Back to the youthful debris filling my front room: I am hoping that the pile destined for Good Will will grow large in the ensuing days that it will take for this project to be finished. It doesn’t help that Natalie is quite content to sit in the middle of it all reminiscing about all of her long-lost toys she played with when “she was young.” So, I thought this photo to be appropriate today, as it reminds me of the “ah-ha” moment in the last scene of “Citizen Kane” when we discover that the whole movie was about a sled (What? I ruined the ending for you? Too bad. It’s a 65-year-old movie and if you haven’t seen it by now, what are you waiting for?). Somewhere in this picture, no doubt, is something Natalie will remember when she is my age as the one toy she once cherished with all her heart but lost forever. I’m sure she’ll find it on eBay 2030.

Sure, we’ll keep some toys like my parents did (though I have yet to see them again), but there’s no way we’re keeping them all. However, I’m already looking forward to the day I get to visit Natalie or Matthew’s new house for the first time, some time in the distant future, with several boxes in tow. Each one filled to the brim with piles of old toys they probably neither remember nor care about...and the circle of parenting continues.

After going through each box carefully, Natalie will probably ask, “Mom, Dad, where’s Bubby?”

“Bubby? Honey, we threw that out 30 years ago.”

Nah, just kidding, Bubby will always be around (though he’s been usurped by Surprise Bear and is currently out of favor).

Maybe he’s Natalie’s Rosebud.

What’s yours?

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