My parents wanted me to take a smaller cardboard box of my stuff with me but I resisted. My reason for resisting wasn’t because I didn’t want an extra box sitting around the house. I resisted because I was fearful of the emotion being stirred within me.
Why on earth was I getting so emotional over some old box of stuffed toys!?
But they insisted and I picked it up and carried it across the street to my house joking that I was quote: “Taking my dollies and going home.” But as I made my way up the sidewalk and into my grown-up house where I pay all of the bills, I couldn’t help but feel like I was holding the past in my hands. A past never to be visited again… A time now relegated to the confines of a cardboard home.
I set the box in the living room and stared at it for a while. Drawn to Stephanie’s blue eyes, wide stitched smile and yarn ponytail, I felt uneasy. I couldn’t bring myself to take them to the basement or seal the box and pack it into the closet with the others. So I just stared at it… completely awestruck not only by the amount of time that had passed and how much had changed, but also by the giant presence that the tiny box had in the middle of my floor.
After a couple of hours I was tired of staring at it and walking around it as I went about my business. So I hoisted it onto my hip and decided to carry it up to the loft in my bedroom. I couldn’t put them away, yet I refused to be that girl… the one who still keeps stuffed animals lying around her bedroom… in her thirties.
Once in the loft I had two choices, put the box in the cabinet up there — which is much more accessible than my storage area in the basement thus allowing me to feel less guilty as I had not actually PACKED them away. Or I could remove them from the box entirely and place them on one of the loft’s shelves.
I deliberated for a moment, considering my options. Sitting cross-legged on the floor, I picked up each one and studied it, gently wiping away a light layer of dust that had accumulated on their faces, clothing or fur. It was then that I decided to go for the latter. I am the only one who goes up there save for my nieces and nephews on occasion so it’s not like everyone who comes into my home would think I WAS “that girl”… the one who still keeps stuffed animals lying around her bedroom… in her thirties.
Seeing them out of the box and propped up on the shelf made me feel a little better. They were no longer boxed up and hidden like a past to be forgotten. They now had a place in the present. A place to be remembered when I wanted or needed to remember these great, old friends and probably more importantly… the person I was when I held them so dear.