Closet Cleaning…

Cleaning the closet.
I just wanted to make space for my vacuum.
Who knew a simple task would eventually lead to tears.
On a mission, sorting and chucking, I didn’t think I just did. But, as I dug deeper into the closet, the magnitude of my task struck me. I pulled out box after box bearing scribbled labels like: army guys, Playmobile, Lego’s, blocks, Lincoln Logs, Play Dough, beads, and Lord of the Rings. That’s when it really hit me. I remember buying the Helm’s Deep playset for the boys oh-so many years ago. I remember the unabashed look of pure delight and disbelief on their faces Christmas morning. How can I give this away? How can I simply throw it in a box, drive it to the donation center and leave it? I know it’s just plastic, but…
All these memories wrapped up in all these toys…my heart hurts…there’s a lump in my throat. I’m saying goodbye to an era in the simple act of cleaning out this closet.
Good bye to marathon sessions of building make believe towns and communities that eventually pushed out beyond the playroom doors and spilled over into the rest of the house.
Goodbye to Polly Pockets and Littlest Pet shops and American Girl dolls.
Good bye to epic battles fought and re fought over mountains of furniture and in valleys of carpeting.
Good bye to the time when simple kisses made the hurts all go away.
Good bye to cuddling and sipping hot chocolate curled up together in a comfy chair. Good bye to this home, these toys, these memories being the center of their universe.
In reality, these boxes sit untouched in the closet. They haven’t played like that in a long time. Yet somehow keeping them felt like holding back time for a while. Who’s foolish enough to try that?
I’m surprised at myself. I just told a woman yesterday how much I loved this stage right now and how I didn’t really miss when the kids were younger. They get my jokes now. They make me laugh now. They have original thoughts and ideas and opinions of their own now and I love it. I see each of them reaching out for God and faith and finding it. I’m proud of who they are and what they’re becoming.
And honestly, until this moment, didn’t pine for earlier days.

But there it is again, the tears welling in my eyes and my heart tearing just a little.

I wish I could tie this all up with a profound quote, Bible verse or life lesson. But the closet is calling and if Brad walks in a finds me typing and crying instead of sorting, it might be a long day.
I know I’ll be ok.
I know the tears will stop and my heart will go back to normal and that I’ll be happy when my vacuum takes it’s new spot.

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4 Replies to “Closet Cleaning…”

  1. I understand, though not from a parent's perspective. The non-rewindable-ness of time stings.

    And the present is so hard to appreciate until it becomes the past – as the boys interrupt and interrupt, and make this comment an unreasonably drawn-out project, how do I treasure this noisy, repetitive part of life? But I know I'll miss it later on.

    Dear me.

  2. Love this, Patty. You brought back many memories, I know what every one of those toys are – we had them, too. I remember when we moved last summer and had to do this… we were moving forward, but I so wanted to take the past with us. And I know the toys were just things…. but they were “OUR things” and held so many wonderful memories. I love how you see joys of what they are passionate about today; the things they “live for”, today; the things that they “must have”, today. Blessings to you, sweet friend.

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