It’s a Sunday, and I am cleaning out your closet today. I need to do this to my own, both literally and figuratively, but I felt like I needed to start here first.
For the most part, it’s clothes and shoes you have outgrown. Old Easter baskets and Halloween buckets that still smell like cheap candy. Bags of clothes I am saving for your brother. Then I see it on the top shelf just sitting there. It’s your preschool backpack. I honestly don’t remember it being this small. There is no way it could even hold a composition notebook. But everyday I sent it to school full of hopes, goals, and prayers. Every afternoon it was returned full of exciting surprises mixed with sad validation.
I don’t know why I am holding onto this backpack. I mean it is too small to be remotely helpful or useful, but it is big enough to bring back some memories that I didn’t realize were too painful for me to want to acknowledge.
There were several things I saved from your early years. I have blankets, onesies, stuffed animals, and first shoes. I have an entire tote dedicated to your artwork, even thought you hate art. I just thought that your kids would think that this backpack was funny. Like, “oh look at Daddy’s tiny backpack he had when he was a kid. That’s so cute!” I could just see your kids laughing and thinking that their Dad, so big and tall, would walk around with this tiny robot themed pack. These memories flash through my mind and then the reality hits that this may not happen.
Honestly, it’s not like I JUST realized that you may not move out and move on, marry, and have children of your own. I have known that this may very well be a possibility. I am at a place of peace with no matter where life takes you. But, I think that there is such a difference in coming to terms with that mentally versus seeing a physical reminder that life for you and I may look different.
In my mind, I should be more upset by this. I should probably feel sad, scared, or maybe even angry that your life may not unfold the way that I envisioned it for you before I knew the odds. How could I ever wonder all the “why’s” when I don’t even know what my future holds nor does my present look anything like I thought it would.
Parents want their children to be better than they are. They want them to go on and do bigger things in this world than they did themselves. If you are happy and healthy then you will forever be better than me. You with your pure heart and an innocence that you may never lose will always be have something others do not.
If I had to do it over again, I would forever choose a tiny backpack of dreams over a suitcase of certainty. Always.
Love and lemons,