Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I decided that the boys' toy room could use some decluttering. The room has accumulated a mass of toys over the 8 years since we built our house here. Most of the toys are no longer played with, since the boys are ages 13, 9, and 8, they are passing out of the "toy stage". The boys generally pass their free time these days by playing some sort of sport together outside, tromping through the woods, tackling each other on the trampoline or blowing things up with their guns. The toy room is rarely used for playing with toys, so I had a vision of revamping it into more of a "sports themed" game room.
I have asked the boys to go through their toys before, which was met with some resistance, and only a small portion of toys were parted with. I expected much of the same thing this go 'round. I carried empty totes into the toy room and called the boys into the room with me. I explained my vision of turning the room into a place where they could watch TV, play games, and display their sports memorabilia. The boys were ecstatic about this prospect, but I still expected them to hold onto many of the toys that filled every single storage space of the room. I explained that they should put any toys into the boxes that no longer played with. I left them to the task at hand.
To my sentimental horror, I walked back into the room a short time later to see this......
Totes literally overflowing with unwanted toys.
Storage containers that were spilling over with toys moments before were now left almost empty.
I couldn't believe what I was seeing. The perimeter of the room was almost empty and the pile of unwanted toys in the middle of the room was a growing mountain of discarded childhood favorites.
I gasped at the sight and the boys stopped their work to look at me.
I squeaked out...
You guys are getting rid of everything! These toys were some of your favorites!
Tucker replied, "Yeah, well, they aren't anymore. We don't play with these anymore. We are doing what you told us to, Mom."
I know, but....but...I figured you wouldn't want to get rid of ALL of this stuff.
And then, I spotted Woody. Toy Story Woody. Woody that all 3 boys played with.
Woody was put into the discarded toys pile.
I yanked him out of the box and shouted...
Woody! Why did you put Woody in here?
"Because, we aren't babies. We don't play with him."
I said sadly,
Woody has feelings! He is special. Ya'll loved this toy.
Carter, my youngest, came to me and sweetly took Woody from my hands. He said, "Let me see him, Mom."
He placed Woody's little brown cowboy hat onto his little plastic smiling head. Carter looked at Woody and smiled and then looked back up at my sullen face.
My heart melted as I thought that my little Carter intended to save Woody from his untimely toy death.
Carter looked down at Woody again and smiled a big smile. He then lifted up a big discarded dump truck inside the plastic tote making a big gap in the pile of toys.
He shoved Woody into the hole and slammed the truck on top of Woody and said....
"There you go, Woody! Now you're buried."
I gathered up the pieces of my broken heart and quietly started picking through the toys choosing the ones that had been meaningful to the boys in the past. I collected a little pile of toys to keep and put away in the attic to give back to them one day when my boys have children of their own.
What began as a fun clean up project, ended up as one of those sad life moments when you realize that your kids are growing up right before your eyes.