...for a different kind of girl

silent surburban girl releasing her voice, not yet knowing what all she wants to say about her life and the things that make it spin. do you have to be 18 to be here? you'll know when i know.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

'...for when he moves, his house moves, too, and nothing can prevent it'

He poked his head in the door and asked me if I was sure, and honestly, I thought I was, so I lied.

"Completely," I told my husband. "Take it to the curb."

As soon as the door slammed shut behind him, I sat statue still for one, two, three, four, five seconds (I know it was exactly five because I counted each tick, forcing myself not to change my mind and go stop him) before I jumped up from the couch, dashed through the family room and the kitchen, then screeched to a halt at the front door window just as he was rounding the front of the house, dragging the Little Tykes turtle sandbox behind him. You think turtles move at a snail's pace? Not the case when my husband is leading the parade.

With a muffled thud, the sandbox came to rest at the curb amid an assortment of empty cardboard boxes, peg boards, and metal shelving, waiting to be picked over by the junk vultures. When my husband turned to venture back into the garage in what I hoped would be a sequel to his first successful release, Quest For Useless Shit We (Meaning You, Tool Man) Don't Need, he caught me watching from the window, so I smiled, barely, and lifted my hand up in what I imagined he'd take as a friendly gesture. A thumbs up that would encourage him to forage deeper where once a car fit for him to find more to throw out along with the sandbox.

But really? Really my wave was meant as a final salute to the turtle sandbox that's been (strike that now - HAD been) in our backyard for the last eight years. I thought I'd been ready to see it go. Honestly. But when I got up Saturday morning and raised the blinds to open the windows so I could hear the boys playing in the backyard and they could hear me yelling out to them to quit wrestling, stop touching him already, for the love of God didn't we already have this discussion yesterday, my eyes immediately fell on the perfectly round circle of dirt in the middle of the yard where the turtle had made it's home and, speaking of for the love of God, my heart filled with regret.

It's not that the boys have played in the turtle sandbox much over the last couple of years. Hell, it's not like the turtle sandbox had held it's primary ingredient for the last couple of years! But what it was (no longer is) was a link to my boys when they were little.


Little, little, little.

Like I want them to still be.

Little tykes, you might say.

But as they like to remind me by their actions if not necessarily their words, my boys aren't such little tykes anymore. The days when we'd tumble out into the backyard to uncover the sandbox and explore ended, really, last summer, when I spent more time reminding them the turtle's hard outer shell was there to cover the sand, not act as a springboard for their backyard gymnastics. We very rarely had tiny sand castles to build anymore. Less frequently were the least favorite Matchbox cars brought out to bust through elaborate sand dunes. The days of sifting through the grains in a quest for gold became fewer, and the imaginary restaurant where I'd watch two chefs stir pots with plastic shovels while placing orders for plates of spaghetti and slices of blueberry pie was closed down, a victim of either the economy or the health inspectors. By the time I told my husband to drag it to the curb last Friday, the turtle sandbox had become more a petri dish where the latest pandemic was likely brewing, and it's lid, split and faded, no longer wanted to heal after another last ditch duct tape surgery.

By next week, grass will be growing in the space where the turtle sandbox has (had) rested for years. My boys will race over it while in the midst of some new game, and perhaps they'll forget the days we spent kneeled around the turtle's innards while building elaborate systems of dams and rivers we filled with bucket after bucket of water from the outdoor spigot. That's OK, really. But I'm pretty sure I won't, because like a turtle's long lifespan, my memories of my no longer so little boys will remain, even if the turtle sandbox doesn't.



Blogger Chag said...

I was going to write something semi-witty and mostly sarcastic to lighten the mood, but I really can't bring myself to sully this sad and beautiful post.

Sunday, May 10, 2009 11:11:00 PM  
Blogger Under the Influence said...

Goodbye little turtle, hello to new memory makers!

Sunday, May 10, 2009 11:34:00 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

Gah! Sob!

Sunday, May 10, 2009 11:54:00 PM  
Blogger Zip n Tizzy said...

Oh You!

I hate our little turtle sandbox, and always have, and I can't seem to let it go. I guess I better get rid of it while they're still little (though they would say not) so that I don't have to have this same turmoil in four years. Not that it won't be something else.
Isn't it astonishing how the years are passing SO slowly for them, and SO fast for us?

Happy Mother's Day!

Monday, May 11, 2009 12:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Kelley @ magnetoboldtoo said...

oh babe. *sob*

Boo's firetruck is tucked in the corner of the yard. He couldn't get into it even if he chopped off a couple of limbs.

But it still sits there.

I need to be strong, like you.

But the kid sized wiggles car? I am taking that bitch to the grave!

Monday, May 11, 2009 3:35:00 AM  
Blogger Cocotte said...

Opening up that big turtle every May and refilling it with sand was always the start to summer here. I miss our turtle too!

Monday, May 11, 2009 5:42:00 AM  
Blogger Prefers Her Fantasy Life said...

Beautifully written. For me, it'll be the swing set.

Monday, May 11, 2009 7:38:00 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

These are the things you write, and the way in which you write them, that are the reasons I read your blog. Thank you.

Monday, May 11, 2009 7:39:00 AM  
Blogger Sherendipity said...

My Mr. Turtle has been long replaced by the trampoline, but you just took me back about 8 years.

Monday, May 11, 2009 7:59:00 AM  
Blogger Chasity said...

This post was so sweet! I was just having those feelings last week when I realized my baby was more toddler than baby now. Sometimes its the littlest, most unexpected things that speak the loudest to my heart- like jammies that fit 'just last week' making him look like he's a little sausage now.

Monday, May 11, 2009 8:04:00 AM  
Blogger Peggy said...

Aww...so sweet!

It's hard work letting them grow up I know! Just last night I was snuggling my eleven year old and I made him promise that even when he was a teenager that he would still snuggle me. He did...we'll see.

Monday, May 11, 2009 8:49:00 AM  
Blogger Chris Wood said...

Parting is such sweet sorrow ...

Monday, May 11, 2009 9:21:00 AM  
Blogger Wonderful World of Weiners said...

You big softie. :)


Monday, May 11, 2009 9:25:00 AM  
Anonymous TwoBusy said...

That was really, really lovely.

Monday, May 11, 2009 9:30:00 AM  
Blogger Dana's Brain said...

Damn. I really want one of those sandboxes. Every year I say I'm going to get one - then the summer is over before I realize, and still no sandbox.

Sigh. Lovely post.

Monday, May 11, 2009 9:36:00 AM  
Anonymous Maureen at IslandRoar said...

Love it!
I still have a Little Tykes slide in my yard that we mow around every week. And my kids are 15-21! Not ready to let that baby go yet.

Monday, May 11, 2009 9:37:00 AM  
Blogger Kate Coveny Hood said...

I'm usually the first one to gleefully throw plastic crap to the curb...but then I do have my moments of nostalgic remorse. And every once in a while I come across a baby toy that should have been tossed long ago - and I swoon a little. My kids really ARE still little - so I'll take this as a reminder to hold them a little tighter when I pick them up at daycare today...

Monday, May 11, 2009 9:40:00 AM  
Anonymous zelzee said...

I hated getting rid of things like the "turtle sandbox".
I swear I needed therapy with each step of my kids growing up!!!
It really never got easier.........

Monday, May 11, 2009 11:55:00 AM  
Blogger Doris the Great said...

Sad, sweet goodbye!

When I finally understood and even made peace with the idea that there'd be no more babies for me, I did what everyone does, I decided to purge & simplify. Why then did I cry so much while I was folding up the little blankies and sleepers? Why did I have to keep certain pieces? Yeah, as much as it's wonderful to watch them grow, we long to hold on to those babies!

Monday, May 11, 2009 12:04:00 PM  
Blogger Desmond Jones said...

We had one of those turtle sandboxes, too. But I seriously doubt we got seven years out of it. Our kids would never let anything live that long (altho, seriously - we got seven kids done, over roughly 20 years, on the same wooden high chair; poor 8M had to get by on a borrowed metal one).

But then, the neighbors donated us their wooden climber/swingset/sandbox a couple years back, so we still have some sandbox action going on in our yard. Just not the turtle. . .

Monday, May 11, 2009 12:24:00 PM  
Blogger Sailor said...

This is a beautiful post, thank you. Reminds me of how fast they grow, I don't think we've made sandcastles in 3 years. :(

Monday, May 11, 2009 12:35:00 PM  
Blogger Brian o vretanos said...

Now you've got me thinking back to the toys Helena had when she was little. Some of them were great fun. I think she enjoyed playing with them too...

Monday, May 11, 2009 12:38:00 PM  
Blogger Always Home and Uncool said...

Once Thing 1 accused me of throwing out her childhood. As if that didn't make it hurt even more.

Beautiful post, faDkog.

Monday, May 11, 2009 1:22:00 PM  
Blogger Whitemist said...

oh, my! Tough, tough decisions.
Let them grow up or remember them as they were. maybe why I never had kids. Tough decision. You were a trooper though.

Monday, May 11, 2009 2:57:00 PM  
Blogger Petra a.k.a The Wise (*Young*) Mommy said...

Awesome post. But you almost made me cry (obviously, I am a little close to that time of the month). I hate those little reminders that they are growing up.

Monday, May 11, 2009 4:31:00 PM  
Blogger Swirl Girl said...

I've got a Little Tykes (very grown up) Sand and Water table with your name all over it.

Just 'donated' the baby slide and little yellow and red car to a neighbor who actually has a little tike...but I'll save the sand box for you if you want.

Monday, May 11, 2009 5:55:00 PM  
Blogger Kathy B! said...

Isn't it odd how certain pieces of plastic grow to have such a powerful to connection to the memories of our children. For me, it was getting rid of the trikes. It was like cutting off an arm. I love this post :)

Monday, May 11, 2009 6:16:00 PM  
Blogger Biscuit said...

We've got one of those damn plastic thingies with tubes and slides that NEEDS. TO. GO!

I usually don't have a problem getting rid of anything except baby clothes and, as documented on my blog a long time ago, the cloth diapers. THOSE were hard hard hard to part with!

Monday, May 11, 2009 9:13:00 PM  
Blogger musingwoman said...

My youngest is eighteen, now. I feel your pain.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009 5:26:00 AM  
Blogger lime said...

oh, i do understand mourning the loss of the turtle sand box. i have boxes of old toys squirreled away because i can't bear to part with them.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009 7:26:00 AM  
Blogger cIII said...

Goodbye Sandbox...Hello Chemistry Set.

Goodbye carpet and eyebrows.

Excellent post, FADKOG. Thanks for this.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009 8:06:00 AM  
Blogger Badass Geek said...

When they are old enough to have kids, they'll probably buy one for their own children and remember the fond memories they had of it. You'll get to watch your grandchildren play in it and everything will come full circle.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009 8:33:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awwww, so bittersweet. Enjoy the new memories.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009 10:35:00 AM  
Anonymous the weirdgirl said...

Awww! You poor thing. This is so sweet and sad. I would have probably turned the sandbox into a flower box. Just so I could keep it around. (I'm sure my husband hates that about me.)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009 11:03:00 AM  
Blogger JoeinVegas said...

Wait until they hit college, and you get to clean out even more.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009 1:47:00 PM  
Blogger Phat Mama said...

You really are an excellent writer.

And I can relate. My daughter is almost 19. My son is 17. It seems like these last three years, ever since she turned 16 - have been filled with longing for the past, filled with tears - so bittersweet, letting them go.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009 3:35:00 PM  
Blogger steenky bee said...

Not to be the strange chick that brings up her deceased cat every chance she gets but, with her passing, I realized, she is a connection to all the memories I have of my 20's, my first apartment, first marriage, being on my own and bringing home our children. It was painful for me to realize that not only will I miss her but she represents my youth and independence. I understand that pang in your heart you felt when you opened your blinds and the turtle box was gone. Sniff, sniff.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009 6:25:00 PM  
Blogger CT Mom said...

I cried when we sold the crib and dressing table. No more babies. My head always knew it. My heart hadn't caught up.

This weekend we gave away the girls' playhouse and picnic table. After the items were gone, G and I stared at the play area for a long time. Seems really empty now.

As much as I want them to grow up, I still want them to stay little. =sigh=

Tuesday, May 12, 2009 9:10:00 PM  
Blogger anymommy said...

My heart hurts. Beautiful. I'm going to look at prom photos now to lift myself up.

Friday, May 15, 2009 11:52:00 PM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

Chag - It IS hard to curb the skill, isn't it?!

Under the Influence - They're all over the place, too.

Heather - I know! I'm still having random outbursts!

Zip n Tizzy - I'm shocked to be a little more than a year away from having a teenager. It's appallingly fast!

Kelley - Our little red Wiggles car is actually sitting right here next to me by the couch! Sigh...

Cocotte - Based on the fact that there are bunnies inhabiting our playset, this week I'm especially missing our covered sand turtle!

Prefers Her Fantasy Life - Gah! I'll be even more wrecked at the inevitable demise of the playset!

Heather - You're welcome, and thank you even more.

sherendipity - We have talked about getting a trampoline, but the lack of a fence and the already park-like allure of our yard, we have to skip it!

Chasity - Oh, the tiny jammies! My youngest came downstairs in jammies that are far too small for him now, but honestly, I couldn't bring myself to urge him to change!

Peggy You got that promise from your 11 year old?! Tell me how!!

Chris - Swoon! You have won me over with your prose!

WWoW - Guilty! :)

TwoBusy - At least I managed to post something lovely this week!

Dana - Scour garage sales! Ours was an already loved turtle acquired on the cheap (thanks to my Mom's negotiation skills!)

Maureen - Oh, we still have the Little Tykes slide think in our yard, too. Can't fathom how my gangly 11 year old once scooted his tiny toddler self around it!

Kate - So guilty of the same thing! Even though both boys have been reading chapter books for a long time, I still have a basket of their toddler board books in the living room, despite my strong desire to purge!

zelzee - It's this 'never gets easier' part that has me worried!

Doris - I'm still not at the acceptance stage of this 'will we or won't we' stage of having another baby, so I've been stalling on getting rid of baby things. Sigh...

Des - I bet you'll be a big ole softy when you finally get ride of that playset though, won't ya?! ;)

Sunday, May 17, 2009 4:35:00 PM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

Sailor - Thank you. And it's insanely fast!

Brian - There are a few of my old toys my Mom still has that I have sworn her never to get rid of.
I would seriously still play Barbies today if I had someone to play them with!

Always Home - Gah! I think I felt that stab through MY heart!

Whitemist - Well, I suppose there would have come a time when the neighbors would have wondered why we, now elderly, still had kid toys in our yard. There's probably a bit of us that did it to avoid the 'creepy' factor! :)

Petra - And YOU almost made ME cry with your comment. We're a hot mess, you and I!

Swirl Girl - Ha! My youngest would be all over a sand and water table!

Kathy - I discovered my olest son's trike in the shed last weekend...sigh...

Biscuit - I'm almost afraid to admit how many storage containers filled with infant clothes I still have in my basement. Honestly, I cry when I open them!

musingwoman - The teens! Gah! The TEENS!!

lime - There are a great number of toys I want to get rid of, but when I have hid them away in an effort to eventually do so, the boys find them. I may actually end up having them stay young in my head forever!

clll - Dude, yesterday, they were both outside lighting newspaper on fire with magnifying glasses. I am screwed!

Badass Geek - The idea of that is the only thing that is keeping me going!

Meg - Thank you, dear!

weirdgirl - OMG! I didn't even think of that! Probably because I can't grow anything (except rapidly growing children, I guess!)

JoeInVegas - There's a secret part of me that actually looks forward to cleaning this place out!

Phat Mama - Thank you!! And how in the world is it possible you have a 17 and 19 year old?! :)

steenky bee - I know those memories. And I know that I so adore you.

CT Mom - My head and my heart are huge messes these days. I'm so not having an easy go of it...it's just a good thing the grass has started to grow where the turtle once was.

anymommy - Oh, but all those cute, cute kids who are around you!

Sunday, May 17, 2009 4:48:00 PM  

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