The beginning of every new year as a parent of a Christmas-celebrating household finds us scrambling and struggling to find storage space for the masses of loot that Santa has yet again brought. (Even if there is a Santa, does he HAVE to be so generous?)
Of course we start the process by going through the kids’ old toys and choosing the ones that can be removed to make room for the new ones. With the job of identifying toys that have been outgrown, underplayed or overplayed to the point of near uselessness, I find an overwhelming sense of nostalgia come over me.
The first few Christmases as a parent weren’t so bad. For starters, the house wasn’t nearly so full of holiday after birthday after holiday after hand-me down toys. Don’t get me wrong, baby crap takes up a whole lot of space, but it’s a different kind of space, more floor than shelf. Besides we only had one back then…we didn’t even know what clutter looked like! So while Christmas was a good time to clear the old stuff away, it wasn’t the mass exodus of today’s post-Christmas clear out.
More importantly, we were planning to have another baby, so any toys that were put away, just went into storage. The next baby could of course use the same baby toys and especially since we couldn’t know if we were having a boy or a girl next, we kept absolutely everything.
This year though, our family is completed, we have our boy and our girl, and no expectations of more in the future. And our little girl has certainly outgrown the baby toys. Meaning all those toys I pack up this year are being packed up for good. No basement storage for three years, no reopening of the boxes to rediscover the memories they harbor. That frog toy the baby absolutely adored, that made her giggle when she crinkled it, will be in a new home. The obnoxious cell phone that chirped the “shave-and-a-haircut” tune every time you touched it will never annoy us again. The tiny piano that she danced her first dance to will delight a different baby.
On top of that, the toys of our four-year old will be packed up for good as well. It’s not that we want gender specific toys for our kids, we don’t at all. We gave our boy a baby doll and a play kitchen set-up when he was little and our one-year old can’t get enough of her brother’s tool set right now, but they are very different children. What our boy likes now, our little girl probably won’t be into when she’s his age.
So while I can put the ball tower in a box to bring back out in two years, the garbage and recycling trucks that used to contain within their bellies almost anything that went missing from the house just have to go. The old school car track that requires more imagination than batteries and could occupy him for hours a year ago was replaced with a new fangled version for his birthday and has sat unused taking up it’s entire half closet for the last six months; this too will have to move on.
As I pack up the boxes of memories to send out the door, I wonder, will I forget these things? Without the toy itself, will I remember the giggles and the love that the kids grew out of so fast? Will my memory fail me here as it fails me when it comes to finding my keys?
But I have to remind myself, the new toys will bring new joys and new giggles, even if they are more grown up giggles. A new year, a new beginning, and a chance for new memories.
This post was written by Penney Blakely. Contact Penney at email@example.com
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