One advantage of growing older is being able to look back at the memories.
One disadvantage is that we often reflect on the regrets in our life.
In my book, Dusty Angels and Old Diaries, there's a story about my oldest son, Billy, when he was about 3-years old. I'm at work when I get a call from the babysitter telling me that Billy wants to talk to me.
After the first moment of slight panic that all was okay with my little boy, I heard his tearful baby voice with the cute little lisp that I thought was soooo cute.
The pleading voice comes to life on page 142 of my memoir.
"Mommy, 'ou pick up my toys when 'ou come home in a little bit." (Story HERE - if link works).
I remember the conversation clearly as if it was yesterday. I was busy trying to get the suppertime medications passed at the nursing home before supper was over, and I was already dealing with many issues of the workplace.
I also remember the conflict of wishing I could just tell him I'd pick up his toys when I got home, but thinking that as a 'good parent', I had to support the babysitter's demands.
After a few moments of firm directions to pick up his toys, I had to gently hang up on his pleading, tearful but persistent urging that I pick up his toys when I got home 'in a little bit'. (Many hours later, sad to say.)
Today, I often see situations where I want to say to someone, "Just pick up the toys".
Last week I went to a small restaurant for lunch before a big test at school. I wanted to do well and decided that fast food wouldn't give me the best nourishment for the day. At Friendlys Restaurant, the waitress welcomed me and asked if I wanted the usual tuna melt as she led me to a corner seat. (How can she remember me and what I like when I go there only once a month or so?)
As I waited, I noticed the cutest little girl about 2-years old sitting on a child's seat at the end of the table. Her yellow daisy top matched her printed pants and bright yellow shoes. She was there with her mother, grandmother, and older brother. Everyone was laughing at her antics and cute childish mannerisms.
But, just as the french fries and grilled cheese sandwich arrived, her mother quickly snapped a plastic bib around her neck.
Instantly the chubby little girl's demeanor changed to tears and tugging at the bib she didn't want to wear. Every time she got it almost off, her mother instantly but persistently snapped it back.
It was one of those, "Just pick up the toys" moments for me. Why spoil her sunshine? She won't remember the incident when she is a mother of two herself, but somewhere in the memory rooms of her mind will be the torment and frustration of when her little world went from sunny to cloudy for the sake of a clean shirt.
For the last three weeks, our class has traveled to a hospital in another city for maternity (OB) clinicals. At the hospital, we must change into hospital-supplied scrubs for the maternity ward. For the last three weeks while changing from Bohecker uniforms into hospital scrubs, another student and I had to find larger sized scrubs for our plus-size busts! We've had to wait - and our classmates have had to wait - while someone brings in larger tops. (There's a shelf for our size, but it's always got the wrong sizes there!)
The other student states she wishes she could be 'small like everybody else" and sounds disappointed and regretful of her size. Truth be known, don't we all? But, while I really wish I could be the 90 pounds I was when my kids were little, I know that's not in the cards for me. Between genes and my lifelong dietary habits, I'm not stylish and chic in size anymore. But, in my mind, I tell myself that a good heart and loving spirit can be more important than worry about one's size or looks. I try to be positive about myself!
How does this relate to picking up the toys? Very much.
I think the other student looks well-dressed no matter what she wears. She carries herself proudly (if you know what I mean), and she has long, think, beautiful, brown hair to die for! Until she mentioned it in the locker room, I wouldn't have thought she was unhappy with her size.
I think that in her lifetime, she had to pick up all her toys. She believes the rule that good looks and a swivel body are more important than feeling good about yourself. That is what the 'rules of the world' say, just as the rules say that one should pick up their own toys.
I can't think of anyone who enjoys picking up their toys. (So to say.) Have you ever given thought to how sweet this world would be if others lovingly picked up all your toys?
My husband often 'picks up my toys'. It always makes me feel special when I find the nail clippers back in the bathroom drawer (so I can find them next time), or my house shoes next to the bed (and I know I left them in front of the chair in the living room), or my housecoat lies over the foot of the bed where I like it at night, when I last saw it hanging over the chair in the kitchen.
Another incident at the hospital yesterday reminded me of 'picking up the toys'. While going through the cafeteria line, the nurse ahead of me asked the server what kind of fish they were serving.
"You don't need to know. Just eat it," was the rude reply.
At the table, we were commenting of how really rude the server was. I said that maybe someone had been really mean to her in her life, and she didn't know how to be kind.
Most of those sitting at the table laughed at me.
"She was just rude" they said.
Then, in a tiny voice, another classmate responded in support of me, "I try to think that about people too. I always think that maybe they've had a hard life or a bad day. I try to give them the benefit of the doubt," she offered.
A better description of the server would be that, perhaps, no one has ever picked up her toys.
I had a long list of examples to write about, but I must close and start my day. I have some things to get ready for Father's Day and a Microbiology test on Monday to study for. (!)
Here's a big welcome to two new members who will get these posting in their e-mails. I can only have ten at a time, so I had to delete two old members (whom I hope will come to the blog for postings), to add my former English professor and my former clinical instructor. Welcome, Denise and AnnMarie.
AnnMarie's daughter is getting married today. AnnMarie seems like a mother who picked up the toys when her children were small and needed a confidence-booster. I believe that Miss Denise loves to pick up the toys of her students when she knows they're having a bad day.
May I propose that your life will be rewarded with more laughter and happiness as you look for ways to 'pick up the toys of others'. And, that you will surround yourself with people who love to pick up your toys.
Take Care on the Journey,
HERE for amazon.com link to page 142