toy trash

I didn't know Ali was filming "The Sword Fight"

I am the master of fitting Christmas trash into the trashcan. Over the years, I’ve perfected the art of breaking down boxes, folding paper and fitting them all together like a puzzle inside the garbage can.

The garbageman has no idea of my mastery. He couldn’t begin to grasp the amount of debris inside the can. My family knows… They’ve learned not to wad up wrapping paper. Oh no, that takes up too much room. They’ve learned to stack everything next to me for the master to begin his work.

As I was beginning to disassemble everything in the reassembling into compact process, something dawned on me… There was no clear-hard-plastic-shaped-for-the-product-type of trash to conquer.

You know the type of product I’m describing… The ones that are almost impossible to get into. The ones you risk your life with knives, scissors, or both trying to get into. After you finally do, often the product is wired and tied to the back cardboard which takes another couple hours to get undone.

This is the trash that tests the master. It’s uneven without any symmetry to cut and stack. I sat there breaking down the elementary type boxes. Breaking them at the corners, then bending the side flaps backward so that they could be stacked together as flat as possible.

“Where’s the tough trash”? I thought to myself.––No toys… I realized this is the first year without toys. That means our youngest has outgrown that part of her childhood. She has closed the door on that chapter of her life. She’s more like her sisters now.

There was a time when that’s the only trash I’d deal with. Slowly my job of fitting everything into the trash can has gotten easier. I should’ve seen it coming… It seemed the same for the gifts, right down to the swordfights with empty wrapping paper rolls, the “cookie day” with grandma and Emma. Putting up the tree, breaking 10% of the ornaments, the exterior lights, pressing the button on the Homer Simpson Santa I got as a gift six years ago to hear the various annoying Christmas sarcastic comments, my wife losing presents, it was Christmas as usual in some aspects.

No toys–shoot… The end of an era. It’s not the conquering of the trash I’ll miss. In truth, it was a real pain, but worth the trade-off.

I surprised all my girls again this year with jeans. (Trying to make up for last year and what has become known as  “the year of the Narnian winter coat debacle”) Surprisingly all the jeans fit except for the youngest. I guess I still see her as smaller and younger than what she really is. I kept the receipt so we can get her a bigger pair.

This year, the first year with no toys reminds me that everything changes. We were all young once. Our children are getting older. My Christmas days are numbered. Each one is precious and cannot be revisited in the flesh, only in memories.

Sensing the times are slipping ahead I asked my daughters to do something for me.

This year before I read Luke chapter 2, I told them it was in honor of my dad. I asked them to make sure wherever they are at Christmas, that they read the Scripture to their family at this time. I know they will…

I choose the word “bittersweet” to describe the reality of my children slowly becoming the women of responsibility and independence intended by God and us.

I’m proud of what they’re accomplishing on their own and seeking God in the process.

All this over toy trash? Maybe I think too much… Then again maybe not…

I will always appreciate being wanted, I’m going to miss being needed…