When Maya’s friend, Casey, passed away on the field with her last year, we all took an immediate liking to rubber ducks. Casey loved them, and all of a sudden, we were all obsessed with them and needed to have as many as we were willing to buy.
We even went as far as Chatham on the Cape to Duck In The Window to get as many as we could. We got one for every family member and close friend and put way more thought into them than I’m willing to admit.
The ducks made their migration back to Natick, and they were placed VERY carefully on the mantel in our living room so we could see them at all times of the day. We loved them so much and I took as much care with them as I would’ve with a newborn baby.
NO ONE was allowed to touch them.
At some point, I started really getting into cleaning up the appearance of our home; we worked really hard on “finding a new home” for any toys that weren’t played with every day, we got rid of all plastic toys that our kids outgrew, and…I hate to admit…the ducks were removed from the mantel.
I still wasn’t comfortable with them getting “played with” by little kids that didn’t respect what they stood for and what they meant to me, but they were no longer perched up on the mantel.
I secretly placed them in a nice bag under the sink in the kids’ bathroom with the thought that some day they would maybe start using them in the bath…under close supervision by whoever was bathing them…and, that they would stay safe and protected there in the bathroom.
The kids, obviously, found them WAY faster than I thought they would and before I knew it, the ducks were being brought out to the back yard…which is where I found them when I took the picture for this post.
My initial reaction was NOT to take a nice, pretty picture to post on my blog. My initial reaction was more like pure horrification, if that’s even a word, which I’m SURE it’s not, and to punish the kids for bringing my ducks outside in the elements.
But, I found a small morsel of self-control and stopped myself before I lost it. I thought back to the dining room table that my grandparents always had on their front porch that we, basically, never “really” saw. There was always some table cloth draped over it, and my father always tried to convince me of how beautiful and stunning the table underneath the table cloth was.
I never saw it, so I had no appreciation for it. Like, at all. To me, it was always just another table with a table cloth on it that we ate on and we were done with it. But, to my father, who knew what was under the table cloth and is a lot like me in terms of feeling like you should give yourself the freedom to appreciate and use the things that you have when you have them, it was hard to leave alone.
It was my dad’s thing. You know how everyone has a “thing” that motivates them to behave in a way that fits more in line with their beliefs…or, what they say their beliefs are.
Well, I’ve inherited that “thing” from my dad. I think about that table cloth that covered up and kept us from appreciating the real beauty of what laid underneath it…I think about it all of the time. In fact, Ben and I talk about this sort of stuff all of the time. I don’t even know if I’ve ever told Ben about the table, but we definitely talk about “not waiting” to use things, or do things, until…well, indefinitely.
If you have something, you should use it and appreciate it and celebrate it. NOW. What’s the point in saving it and preserving it and waiting for some special day that may or may never happen in your lifetime?
So, when I took the photo of the ducks above, I felt a huge sense of relief. Like, I had finally given in and taken to heart what I had always thought of that table on my grandparent’s front porch.
The ducks were there to be played with, not bagged up underneath a bathroom sink. So what if they get muddy and one gets lost and another fades in the sun from being played with in the backyard all summer?
And, when I really start thinking about it, that’s not what Casey would want. She wouldn’t want her parents to hide all of her beautiful, fun ducks upstairs in the bathroom while she walks around the backyard looking for something to play with.
Casey would want to play with her ducks.
So, our kids will play with our ducks.