I was puttering around in Cooter’s room with only the intention of being able to vacuum his floor.
I wound up doing so much more. It turned out to be a pretty momentous project, as we packed up quite a bit of his “baby stuff,” as he called it. He didn’t want me to get rid of all of it–some we are storing away for “whenever.” But the fact that he was ready was a big deal. A Very. Big. Deal.
He’s my baby, you see.
But he’s also 8 and a half. And he’s put up with some things (like the so very precious itty bitty baby pictures on his wall) for far too long.
At one point a couple of years ago we put horses that I collected growing up (some, not all, were the Breyer horses that were quite the thing with me and my best friend) on the shelves in his room. I asked him, considering he has a few Star Wars things he might like to display, if he’d like for me to put the horses away for now.
After hemming and hawing and me reassuring him all would be okay and my feelings would not be hurt, he said yes, he was ready to change things.
I pulled out the box with my Daddy’s name and mailing address on it–the one he and Mama first packed my horses up in, wrapping them gently in old t-shirts and dust rags. And I, just as they once did though probably not as well, carefully wrapped each little horse and tucked it away, only after looking and remembering the Christmas or birthday I got each one and the names I’d given them.
The last two I packed up were the ones on the very top shelf. The ones I’ve had the longest.
I don’t remember how old I was when I got them, but I think maybe five? Actually the big one (which has wheels on her feet) was mine. The other one was Sister’s, but it turns out birds were more her thing. We got them one Christmas. My horse came with a wagon and we had a driver and rider dolls. They had “real” bridles and saddles too.
Then came the time that each had a tail to break off. Daddy used some kind of substance to stick my horse’s tail back on. I’m not sure what happened to Sister’s horse, but Daddy went another route in fixing her tail. Frayed twine of sorts.
And here it is, all these many, many years later and that tail is still on.
My horse’s tail did not fare as well, but it’s still with me. Wrapped up in a bit of one of Daddy’s old t-shirts, waiting for me to try to figure out how Daddy fixed it the first time and make that happen myself.
That’s the thing I learned from my parents that tends to stand out the most, I guess.
To be a good steward.
Take care of what we have.
And those we have.
And if it’s broken–
we fix it.
Sometimes we have to get creative, think outside of the box, or have a whole lot of patience as we wait for paint or glue to dry, but before we throw it away, we try to fix it.
Tonight I’m thankful for remembering and breathing in my Mama and Daddy’s presence as I worked to pack the horses away. I wonder if, as they were packing up my things, their hearts hurt as much as mine did as I packed up Cooter’s. It’s bittersweet really–sad that the years are passing so quickly, but filled with joy that he is growing and learning and figuring out who he is becoming. That’s an amazing thing to have front row seats to for sure. Most of all, I’m thankful for the lessons my parents taught me about taking care of all we see and know and love. About not throwing things–or relationships–away just because there’s something broken in them.
May we all find a way to fix something that’s broken. Because we at least have to try, don’t we?
Love to all.