Stripey


Hey Y’all it is sunday night ( early monday morning and I have been utterly irresponsibly too busy to actually keep up with the diary. as I always say… better to be living life than to be writing about it. A lot of thinga have happened in the last several days of course however I would really like to take one cross section moment and preserve it here. There was a moment in time when i saw courage and doubt, strength and duty, relief, l, and above all else… the best way that I, as a parent, have ever manipulated my son.

Saturday had been set aside to go through grampa’s and Bubbie’s play room and put the sets things back together and pieces together, and take out all the things that they dont play with any more to donate to refugee services. There were 5 large baskets of jumbled toys and also a three drawer caddy of everything.

My first approach was perfectly logical to me. I asked each of them to go through the toy room and bring me things they dont want or need any more. LESSON: yeah right! If Z gave it to me to donate, then it was something H wanted and viceversa. the donated toys were to be collected on the couch. After about 15 minutes after beginning I saw this going no where.

WELL, being the QUEEN OF STRUCTURE AND ORGINAZATION that I am, I quickly devised a different plan.

“Z bring me that basket” I said. and one thing at a time…. tinker toys into the set, dolls into a large pile, stuffed animals into another pile, puzzle pieces, one big pile, pieces of the map of the united states, pieces from the colorform story board, [pieces from a spider man helicopter, a bug catching kit, barbie clothes, farm animals, hospital bed, barbie popcorn maker, fence pieces, thomas the tank engine traks, matchbox cars….. alphabet pieces from at least 3 different sets, puzzle pieces, some with magnets and some without… OYYYYYYY.

well after getting through the first basket and establishing different piles “H’s pretend high heels” etc.. I found that there not that many kinds of things just that they were all mixed up. It was bright and we were going steadily. I had started at 2pm. I did about 3 baskets, and i was consolidating the teeny things like mcdonalds toys into a pail… The kids helped the best way they could… by saying out of my way…he he.

We took out first break at about 3:45. I explained that if we had some snack and then maybe read a book or something, upon returning to our task we would be more energized because if you don’t take breaks you get burned out. I dont think i phrased it like that… well we had some strawberries and grapes and zach and i looked at the MC ESCHER book while helen dressed up like a princess. They had a five minute and 2 minute warning to get ready to go back and work on the play room. I told them ” areyou ready to go back in there? you are getting bigger and some of these toys just are not for you any more.”

So finally I had consolidated all the baskets and buckets and toys and parts except for some things like the little mc donalds toys, and little things i didnt know what sets they went to, filled half a basket. the blocks that make music when re-united with the music block thing was pushed off to the corner. every SET that was complete was piled or put in the corner. The puzzlwes, and the map puzzles and the sewing cards… some of them are still good. they just didnt play with them cause they were all mixed up.

I had around me two lines of categorically arranged toys. on my right there were maybe 6 piles and on the lleft also several piles. THEN… the hard work began. I placed all the stuffed animals out in front of me and the both sat down. there was a group of 6 small ones… and I told them to each pick ONE to keep and then say goodbye and put the rest on the ccouch for kids that dont have toys. 2 medium size stuffed things each, and… well you get it.

The large stuffed toys… that is when it happened. I told them to each pick two. Helen went first and picked (of all things) the laughing and vibrating bunny. Zach picked a dinasour. While helen was picking her second one, zach quietly left the play room and i looked up and I said ZACH??? and he came into the play room. His eyes were wet and a little red. He held in his hands something we all call “stripey”. without a word, he placed stripey on the couch with all the give away’s and he looked at me.

Stripey is a pillow that has a head attacked on one side and a tail and its really soft and zach has slept with this thing since he got it. Stripey was not just a toy but a personality… his buddy who helped him feel comforted at night. I saw his eyes. He was having this moment of duty where he felt obligated to somehow prove.. that he is getting bigger.

I said “Zachary! why are you giving away stripey?” and he looked at me with the redder eyes and said…”I am getting bigger now.”
He told me he had stripey a long time and now he was getting bigger. he held back a real cry. I saw so many things in that moment. He showed me bravery, honesty, sensitivity… and his wanting to somehow define his getting bigger by making this sacrafice.

I of course grew tears in my eyes and i said ” NO you can’t give him away… if you are giving him away then i want him… give him to me!” and zach handed it to me. I buried my face in stripey’s head and starting full out crying. All of the emotions flying around… i started flowing with tears and i said ” PLEASE don’t give away stripey… please… I love him” and all the while tears are coming down my face. They knew i wasn’t fake crying, they probably assumed that my tears were that strong for the love of this ugly brown and black stuffed tiger.

Zachary thought for a moment and told me ok, he would not donate stripey and at that moment i sprung a fresh burst of tears thanking him very much… and the sudenly worried… “Zachary… I need it to be safe. You know how I lose things all the time, like when my necklace broke and i need you do do me a reallly big favor… I need you….. i need you to take stripey up into your top bunk and put it way up there so it will be safe and not get confused with the stuff to donate.”

I saw watery eyes become a tad more watery, before they started to dry, and he took stripey back to his bed.

Soon after that, helen had to pick two of her 7 pairs of dress up shoes to keep, 4 of her 11 purses, she could keep all the barbies and barbie clothes. and she could pick TWO babies… no child needs 15 babies. so she put the other things on the couch… it was interesting watching them put things on the couch that they knew were going away. When i had them chose what to keep, i saw them really treasuring the things they DID pick… Helen did put 13 babies on the couch, but she looked at the two she kept with new eyes.

i managed to get all the mega blocks back in the bag and other sts together. I looked up at the clock…. 8:45PM… YIKES! First of all bed time is at 8:30, and they hadn’t even had dinner. I fixed them some chicken and carrots while i swept away the garbage and took the two HUGE bags of toys to be given away into the garage.. I mean HUGE bags.Then I took everything in the corner, put the sets in one place, the farm, the house, and the hospital all together, zacharies huge truck, and the caddy with their smaller things.

the room looked different. more then half the “crap” or stuff was gone. After a moment of being pleased with myself, I turned around, had them finish the chicken ( i said “what the heck” about the bath) and had them change into jammies. Zachaary was changing and he looked at me from no where with a huge smile, and he said… ” mommy you are right, giving stripey away would have been a bad idea” and I said ” how so” and he said ” well really you know that really he isn’t yours, and you never cared about him being safe before”

was my son telling me that he knew what i did and why? he is so fucking smart. I looked at him… kind of perplexed and I sid ” NO, you gave him to ME… but you can borrow him until i need him again” and zachary gave me a bih hug… the kind of hug that a parent remembers long after the kids have left the nest. he leaned over and said ” I love you mommy…. thanks”. And i started cryiong of course and helen asks now… ” why is mommy crying …. why are you crying??”

Zachary turned around and said ” no helen, this is that other kind of crying.. the good kind”

then my dad arrived home and we all piled into his car and they drove me home ( 5 minutes away.) and I thanked the universe for such gifts.

After talking about it, I don’t have much moe to say that seems like it would make any difference. Right now, i want to relish in my children for as long as i can. To hell with what i did the other morning…. funny how the important stuff ends up revealing itself… when it is time.

Be Good… Be kind… and Be gentle.
Beth

3 thoughts on “Stripey

  1. The power of that story will never be lost on me. You’re an inspiration…Zach and Helen are lucky to have you as their mom. It seems you’re doing the best you can, and I have faith that you are moving in the right direction.

    Be well. Be Happy. Be loved.

    -Ed

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