Saturday, November 13, 2010

End of an Era

This has been a growing-up kind of year for my son. He's out of self-contained and into inclusion classes at school. He's growing his hair out from the buzz cut we gave him years ago so he wouldn't have to comb his hair. Though his head's no longer stubbly, his face is. These were all expected transitions, and ones we fought for (me, the inclusion classes; him, the hair). But there's one step toward maturity that I totally didn't see coming.

He no longer wants his toy cars.

Toy cars have been the thing for him forever. Long hours spent lining them up end to end. Traffic jams built on road-map rugs in his room. Endless afternoons at Toys R Us as he went through every rack, every bin, every package of Hot Wheels and Matchbox to find the car he wanted. Even when he stopped actively playing with them, even when he had me roll up those road-map rugs and remove them, he still wanted those bins of tiny metal autos where he could see them. They still provided comfort.

And now, they're so last year.

I know I should be celebrating this. The play he did with the cars was never "normal" typical kid-play. Though tiny cars were a good thing to ask relatives to give him for Christmas -- easier than his other passion, car keys -- it was always tough to explain that no, he doesn't want the super-duper racetrack, and no, he doesn't want the cool race cars with the pieces that click on and off and change color and flip. He wants the little cars that look like big cars he sees, and he has some sort of exacting specifications in his head. Many were the cars that didn't pass the test.

Now, it appears he's uninterested in all of them, even the ones he used to cherish. He let me know that it would be okay to take them out of his room, give them away, throw them out. I'll do that, too ... soon. Eventually. I know this is what kids do, they outgrow toys, they turn their backs. It's healthy. It's typical. And I suppose this parent nostalgia I'm feeling over discarded playthings is typical, too.

But there's a lot of history in those little wheels. A lot of growth. A boy transformed, over the years. Maybe I'll just see if I can make some room for those old friends in my closet.

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