As I sort through the fifteen-plus years of stuff that has built up in my home, every now and then I come across interesting souvenirs from my children’s younger days. Slips of paper tucked long ago between the pages of notebooks, books, files.
Recently, as I sorted through a pile of old magazines, I came across a bin of notepads. Years ago, I had used these pads to write “lunch notes” to my oldest child. [By the time the others were eating lunch at school, life had become too harried and chaotic to continue this practice.] One pad was made up of sticky notes with sweet messages pre-printed on them. As I picked up this pad and began to flip through it, a small scrap of paper slipped from the pages and fluttered to the floor.
I bent over and picked it up. It held a drawing from that brief period where images begin to emerge from the early scribbles of a child. The drawing was a vehicle of some sort—the favorite subject of art for my youngest child. Memory drew me back in time, and I could see him sitting in the brightly colored booster seat that was strapped to one of the kitchen chairs. He was bent over the table, working studiously to create this picture. His blond head bobbed a bit as he drew, tipping this way and that as he created the perfect picture. His glasses slipped down his tiny nose, and he wrinkled his face to push them back up. Many days were spent in this position as he produced drawing after drawing.
When this now eighteen-year-old arrived home from work that night, I handed him the drawing. “Look what I found when I was cleaning this morning.”
“A tractor!” he said on first glance.
“Do you remember drawing that?” I asked him, amazed that he knew exactly what it was.
“It’s obviously a tractor, Mom. The big wheel in the back gives it away.”
Yup, silly me. “I hadn’t thought of that. So what’s this?” I turned the paper over to reveal another drawing and handed it back to him. On this side were three things that might possibly be cars. Each was connected to a line that ran willy-nilly across the page. A map? Directions? Lightning strikes? The image was crossed out, so it clearly was not the image of choice on this paper.
He smiled and shrugged. “I have no idea.” I took the paper from him
and tucked it back in the notepad. Someday, I would once again unearth this drawing. An
d I would take another trip through my memories to the time when a little blond boy would sit at the kitchen table and create drawings that I would puzzle over long after he’d grown.
Next time, I’ll tuck it into his box of memories, so it can become his puzzle. And maybe, before it winds up in the trash, it will give him a smile of memory.