Susan's Blog

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Toy Story

I had to go to the Apple Store to pick up Twilight Princess (this laptop) whose clicking pad was clicking way too much. I couldn’t get anyone to go with me to get it, though. Not Ned. Not even Max. I didn’t know why at the time but this set off a huge crying jag.

When Max was little, I always took him shopping with me. He loved shopping with me, because he knew I would get him a little treat: at the Stop & Shop, a fresh-baked cookie from the bakery; at the mall, a tiny transformer guy. I learned about transformers from Max. I was fascinated with the tiny plastic fire truck that, when you twisted the parts around, became a robot. So was Max.

I was also fascinated with the way he played. He was my second child, but the first one who played. He was the first little boy I ever really played with — I only played with girls when I was a girl. Back then I would try to organize the toys in bins: a box for all the different toy people figures; a box for vehicles; a box for play food; Beanie Babies; weapons and tools; and so on. Max had some toys that were a combination, though: where, for example, did you file the Chicken McNugget Man? Was he a food, or a person?

Max also played with toys from all different toy species, mixing them in ways I could never imagine. He would take the Playmobil guys and put them with stuffed animals for a picnic. All the parts of the toys would be spread out, put away in the wrong boxes, the wrong bins. And now, of course, the bins are filled with as much fluffy dust as fake hamburgers. It used to frustrate me; how stupid. Here I had a boy who actually played with toys, and yet I wanted him to play with them differently!

So tonight Max barely raised an eyebrow when I told him how I had sweet-talked the Apple Genius into fixing my computer for free, even though I’m out of warranty. I drove to the mall stewing in my self-pity. At home, I threw a tantrum and played alone with my new, clean computer. Max shuffled in, “Everything okay?” What a great kid he is. I am such an idiot.

I realized, with a sudden sharp stinging in my throat, that Max was going to leave next year, and that he already was leaving. I just couldn’t take it.

He’s doing exactly what he should be doing but it just hurt and hurt. There is nothing I can do about it. It is another thing that is just going to freaking hurt. It’s Nat all over again. They do grow up, people say, laughing at me. Oh, it hurts when you drop them off at college. It hurts when you drop them off at The House.

They just grew the hell up. I never thought I’d wish for a chance to pick up little Happy Meal toys again. Or that I’d miss watching Disney Sing-Alongs year after year after year.

I told him eventually how I already missed him, but that he was doing everything right. He pulled me into a deep hug, and for a moment, he was my little boy again. But so tall!


Oh, say it aint so. *sigh* I feel for you, Susan, and I know that one day it will happen to me and I'll just be a big, blubbering mess. Sending gentle thoughts your way.

— added by mumkeepingsane on Thursday, October 22, 2009 at 7:54 pm

Buck up, Susan – you and Ned are to be congratulated for raising fine sons. That's no small feat or feet, as the case may be. Sending you a hug from New Orleans, Lisa

— added by Anonymous on Friday, October 23, 2009 at 10:05 am

You've touched an essential nerve and the fundamental dilemma of parents, Susan. We want the kids to grow up and go out into the world, but damn, it's hard to let go of watching Sesame Street together while eating peanut butter rice cakes. fyi

— added by Annie Fox on Friday, October 23, 2009 at 3:43 pm

I could just cry right along with you. Even the thought of letting my boy go makes me cry. And he's 5! Big hugs to you.

— added by Brenda on Sunday, October 25, 2009 at 10:42 am

This is hard for me, too, especially when I have one who will not be growing up. It's going to be a quiet and lonely house when they go. Sigh.


— added by Anonymous on Tuesday, October 27, 2009 at 12:52 pm

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