Too big for the office, too out of place in the living room and way too babyish for her bedroom, the card table covered with all her Lego structures has stood in the corner of my bedroom for several years now.
A vibrant plastic city filled with stores, vehicles, homes and mini figures is now a collection of tipped-over towers and loose pieces all covered with a thick layer of dust.
Every year, I hoped she would revisit the make-believe city she spent hours creating.
But after three years of her not showing the faintest of interest and a full remodel of our house beginning next month, I was in ultimate clean-up mode.
It was time to take it all down.
Brick by brick, I began deconstructing each of her structures, separating the bricks by color into partitioned containers.
Pulling apart the pieces wasn’t always easy. My fingers hurt — almost as much as the thought of never seeing her excitement and pride when she completed a set, or ever hearing the phrase, “I think I want to be an architect when I grow up.”
Oh, the visions I had for her future…
Now at 13 years old, my daughter deems any task that entails following specific directions or sitting at a desk without using her phone as boring.
While my husband sees the piles of bricks as hundreds of dollars misused — especially the sold-out boat that Santa Claus had to deliver — I recall her tiny eager fingers and her imagination and concentration that were hard at work and play.
The little flower I found hidden in the drawer, the miniature cupcakes and drinks that were so delicately displayed on various shelves, and all the stickers she placed on the bricks, were almost enough to put a guilty stop to my project.
“Taryn, do you want to help me later?,” I asked as a way of seeking confirmation of my deconstruction. “Are there any structures you want me to keep as a memento of your Lego days?”
“No, but have fun with them, Mom,” she said with a slight mocking tone as she leaves for school thinking only about planning her upcoming Disneyland trip with her friends.
As I continue pulling apart the bricks, I realize that maybe keeping the Lego structures intact all these years was more about keeping a visual of her childhood for me rather than keeping mementos for her.
“I’m almost done,” I text her at school.
“That’s so sad. I had so much fun building them, LOL,” she replies. “But mom, I am so excited to remodel the house. I can’t wait to have my friends over!”
As I finally finish my week-long project and fold up the legs to the card table, I can’t help but feel that I am folding up yet another phase of her life.
Bittersweet? Of course. But, as I watch her grow up, I know there are many other building blocks for us to experience that will help her construct all the wonderful things that lie ahead.
If you have a Lego collection your kids have outgrown and don’t know anyone who wants them, here are a couple of sites that purchase sets and bricks.