Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Worms Live Here.

When the kids were tiny, we had a huge sandbox in the back yard. It was their favorite place to play. Many kingdoms were built and destroyed in that sandbox. Large castles and small hovels rose and were populated by action figures of all kinds.

The action figures led interesting lives, living in sin as they were, with the most unlikely mates. . . .

It's a good thing they were only toys, because I'd hate to think what any offspring might have been like.

He-Man and Smurfette, for example, lived most harmoniously together.

As did Donatello and the sister from the Berenstain Bears.

The dancing raisins and the lost boys from 'Hook.'

You get the general idea.

(Living proof that little kids are not prejudiced until adults teach them to be so.)

When the sandbox finally rotted to the point that the kids could no longer sit on the little corner seats without a splintery accident, we dismantled it and hauled it away. Before raking the sand into the yard, I sifted through it and found over three dozen action figures.

The kids really missed their sandbox, and so did I. I loved watching them dig and make piles and build castles. They always got along well in the sandbox, too. Their sweet chatter would make my entire being thrill.

My son, especially, loved the sandbox.

He loved to build kingdoms, and he loved to make log cabins for G.I. Joe and for all the Happy Meal figures.

We have pictures. Sweet little pictures of Happy Meal figures peeking out of the doorways of really well-constructed little log cabins, in the sandbox. Marvels of architecture for a four-year-old boy.

Those little cabins were absolutely adorable until I realized that he was making them with cat turds.

Unfortunately, the cats loved the sandbox too.

The green turtle-shaped wading pool was conveniently placed next to the big sandbox. We still have that wading pool; it's in the barn that collapsed about ten years ago. Fortunately, the wading pool was not crushed, just in case any visitors wish to put a lawn chair in it and cool off.

I also have a REALLY cute picture of my tiny little son, four years old, holding a long stick with a piece of white paper taped to the top. He is standing in the middle of the yard, between two trees. On the paper are printed the words "WORMS LIVE HERE." The paper is upside down, so the birds could read the sign from the air.

He told me there weren't enough birds in our yard and he was inviting them to land.

He was just the sweetest little boy EVER.

My son and daughter used to tiptoe carefully through the yard so they wouldn't step on any flowers. Because, as you all well know, fairies often nap underneath flowers. Fairies also like to ride on falling autumn leaves, and big snowflakes. Oh, we had the fairies' lives all figured out, yes indeed we did.

Sometimes I think we lived in a big picture book when my kids were tiny. Memory plays tricks, of course; memory often mercifully deletes the bad things and concentrates on the good things.

I need to put away the photo albums; I think I'm retreating into the past. But at the time, I couldn't imagine that life ever being anything but the present.

I miss that life a lot. Fortunately, those precious children are also precious adults. They still step carefully through the yard lest they stomp the guts out of a fairy. They like to feed the birds; you know, those same birds that hang out in our yard because of that long-ago invitation.

My little son, with his bright red hair and freckly face. Oh, and the big scar running across one cheek from an unfortunate encounter with a barbed-wire fence. Osh Kosh B'Gosh overalls handed down from cousins, and a little blue fishing pole over his shoulder, with a big smiling plastic fish hanging from the pole's line.

My little daughter, with her long curly golden hair and sweet smile. More often than not dressed in a long princess gown of some kind, sweet dolly in hand.

Where did they go? It's impossible that those beautiful children don't live here any more. That they are all grown up and living on their own.

I'm so proud of them. I love them so much. I don't wish them back. They're both happy.

I'm really glad they still respect the fairies. I'm really glad they love to visit. I'm really glad they'd be outraged if they didn't have a Christmas stocking. I'm really glad they still love blueberry muffins on Christmas morning.

When it comes to my children, I'm really glad. Period.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 7:21 AM | |


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