Every year, I do a massive clean up in my son’s room. Usually this happens around Christmas, so I can clear room for the new unwanted toys. Mostly due to the grandparents going crazy buying him toys at Christmas and birthdays that just end up collecting space. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful, but there’s only so much room for them and half the toys they give are honestly temporary. He may use some of those toys once and never go back to them.
When this clean up happens, it’s always a struggle. He never wants anything to be thrown out, however he doesn’t want to clean the room either – lose lose. It usually escalates into arguments, me hiding things in the trash can and him crying because he caught me. Ugh! the struggle…
This time, I had to clean his room because my mom is coming up to visit from Florida. She hasn’t visited us here in Maryland since 2011. I want her stay to be nice and without the sight of a hurricane aftermath in our living space. Unfortunately, I haven’t had much time to clean lately. Then, my son came down with hoof and mouth (go figure), so we had 3 days of being stuck in the house. When, I explained that I would be spending this time to clean the house in between caring for him, his eyes lite up as he pointed to me, “That means you have to clean my room for me and I get to just lay here and play my game”…the worst part about his smart ass statement was that he was right…children…
After drawing up a plan in my head of re-arranging his room for efficient living, I walked back into the living room. I felt like I was walking the green mile. Here we go, here comes this dreadful talk. Smalling my voice, trying to be courteous to his feelings, and letting him down easy. “Tyler, I know you love your toys, but you don’t play with most of them anymore. Can we please let some go? I’m sure other kids would..”, “Okay”…..He caught me off guard, “Okay?”, “yeah mommy, it’s okay”…Well..okay then! I explained that I would let him be the verdict of letting things go. So, as I went through his toys, I would bring one by one out to show him. He came up with this method where he would give me a thumbs up or thumbs down to his keeping or letting go. He did really well with ditching them – he must of been really sick.
Most of the things never bothered me, I was thanking the heavens that they were leaving. The only things that really saddened me was Thomas the train. He fell in love with Thomas the train when he was 3 years old. I spent the next couple years collecting trains, tracks, and different compartments to keep them in. I invested into his train table. He loved him so much. He had the DVDs,the pillow, etc. At that time, the DVDs drove me crazy. The older version of Thomas was boring and plain to me. However, Tyler found him to be fascinating. Regardless, it made me happy because Thomas was harmless and wasn’t as repetitively annoying as Dora the explorer – you have to take the good with the bad.
I just stared down at those two totes of trains and wooden tracks, and I honestly wanted to cry. Sounds so silly to cry over toys, but they were not toys to me, they were memories. He had stopped playing with them for about a year and a half now. I knew he would eventually let them go, but I guess I just wasn’t ready.
I stuck them outside with the other “junk”. I looked at them thinking that they didn’t belong there. They weren’t junk. This was his love and joy at one point of his life. I remember those days when they were the best things on earth to him. The days where he bugged me constantly to build tracks with him. Those days sitting on the wooden flooring creating different obstacles for Thomas and his friends with my son by my side. His smile growing big as he soaked up the moment of mommy playing with him. Also, those days where I was too busy to play trains with him, and now I feel the regret, even though I know life happens.
Then, there was one last Thomas item. He was sitting on the shelf. He was a remote control Thomas that blew out fog resembling smoke as he moved around. I asked Tyler about keeping him. He said “Well it doesn’t have batteries, if it did, I would keep him”. I explained, “Well, I can put batteries in it”. Alas! He was keeping a Thomas! This relieved my guilt from getting rid of the other Thomas the train toys. I was officially okay with this transition.I get to keep a Thomas for a little while longer until he grew out that next. I fear it wont be long, but I’ll take whatever time I can get with my memories.