Thursday, December 30, 2010

Fleeting Seasons of Childhood

It was a chilly evening in October. I was preparing for my annual garage sale and had solicited my 10-year-old's assistance in separating toys to keep from toys to sell. This was always a difficult assignment for me, and a little company would be nice.

Sitting on a small bench in the drafty garage, Leslie and I rummaged through the disorderly pile of playthings from days gone by—shabby dolls, wind-up gadgets, building blocks. And then, there was her beloved plastic food. So many memories were there, but space was a factor and something had to go.

After questioning Leslie about the play food—“Does it stay, or do we sell it?”—her expression suddenly became serious. Methodically, she took the various pieces and placed them in her lap.

"I used to have so much fun with these," she said, an uncharacteristic note of sadness in her voice.

Without warning, a huge lump settled in my throat. Not trusting myself to speak, I sat in silence as she struggled with the weighty matter at hand.

Afer a long time of staring at each piece, she gathered them all to her chest and gently lowered them into the towering box marked: "Garage Sale Stuff."

"Well…good-bye," she whispered, touching the pieces a moment longer before letting them go.

The garage was heavy with emotion. I looked at her, she looked at me, and tears began trickling down our cheeks.

"You can keep them if you want to," I said, fighting to turn back the speeding hands of time. She shook her head. "Are you sure?" I asked, sniffing unashamedly. She was sure; the food should go.

Wrapping my arms around her small shoulders, I knew that, alongside the beloved pieces of make-believe food, pieces of childhood lay inside the tall box, never to be seen again. A season had come and gone. My heart ached as I, too, reluctantly let go.

Leslie turns 25 today. I love her beyond words, and am forever grateful that God made me her mother.  ♦


  1. Tears and moments only a mother can fully understand.
    Happy Birthday Leslie, your mother loves you so much.

  2. What a wonderfully touching post. Letting our children spread their wings and releasing them into the world is the ultimate process of letting go. The collage of photos is so sweet. Love that lower right hand photo with the big innocent smile. Happy birthday to Leslie and best wishes to you. Tammy

  3. Gayle.. wonderful post and great pictures..
    May God Bless you and your family with many miracles in 2011..

  4. Letting of the hardest lessons in life. Great post!

  5. Gayle - this is a beautiful post that brought tears to my eyes. Time passes so quickly...Beautiful daughter, also. I see a resemblence of her mother.

    May you have a blessed and joyful 2011.

  6. Oh how this mother's heart can relate...It is soo hard to let them go EVEN though it is our goal in the first place. To raise them to be responsible, mature, productive, INDEPENDENT, adults. HAPPY BIRTHDAY to your sweet girl. HUGS

  7. Kleenex time .... my sweet and beautiful niece. Love her!

  8. I just love the way you write, and I've missed it. I relate very well to this scenario. It's very, very hard for me to box away childhood.

    Hope 2011 is your best memory making year EVER.

  9. Really beautiful post--does bring a lump to the throat!

    Happy New Year!