Wife: Because I asked the kids to clean up the back yard.
Me: Right, but she's dragging it to the toy box.
Wife looks out the window.
Wife: Oh that 8 foot tree trunk... thats a special 8 foot tree trunk for her.
Wife: Yup. She drags it all over the yard and loves it.
Me: But... its an 8 foot piece of a tree trunk.
Wife: I know. But its special.
Me: To her.
Hmmmm... interesting thought. I'm sitting there, watching the children drag all the toys all over the yard as Spring Cleaning kicks into high gear. As as I looked down as the amassed collection of bikes, trucks, toys, balls, rakes, shovels, animal bones (don't ask), frisbees, lawn darts (the non-fun versions, you know, the ones without the sharp pointy ends), etc... I was stuck by this massive stick our eldest daughter had dragged over and added to the pile.
See, it is important and special to her. It doesn't matter what it is, or why it is special... it just is.
When our little Ping left China, she did not have much with her. And my wife is clearly holding onto everything that came with Ping to make sure there are some memories for her when she gets older. The China shoes, the china coat, the china sweater (which I almost sent to Goodwill... you were almost reading my obituary this week on the blog), her china photo books, etc. And yes, she holds on very dearly to those things.
The shoes I've written about in the past... but her photo books of her friends are quite special to her as well. Very "hands off my pictures" if you know what I mean.
But of all the things left behind, what "8 foot section of tree trunk" is she missing today?
I used to tell myself that the things she would miss would be the things given to her, or sentimental things, I never counted on big pieces of sticks... or rocks... or who knows what.
Loss is huge, what she is missing is huge.
You would (or at least I did) expect her to miss her friends, her care givers, etc... but, what about the other things? The things which make no sense to me and my very limited capacity of understanding?
She may miss the routine of the Orphanage, in fact, I'm positive she misses it.
She may miss the chaos of 500 children in a confined space...
She may miss the things which I think she shouldn't miss...
Like, getting in trouble... I swear sometimes, she pushes our patience so far, and then when she finally gets in trouble she gives us a big smile like "FINALLY, phew... I thought they'd NEVER discipline me!"... aaaand then she erupts into a fountain of tears.
My oldest daughter probably doesn't need that 8 foot section of tree trunk (unless she has started building a trebuchet in the backyard and is planning on storming some castle looking for a prince), but she wants it. It may not be the best toy in the world... it may not even be good for her, or safe to play with. But, for whatever reason, it is special to her.
My beautiful little Ping probably doesn't need to hold onto some of the "things" she is holding on to, but I'll be darned if I'm gonna be the one to take these things away from her, because they are important to her... even if I can't figure out why.