Our sixteen-year-old needs a place to park his new (OK, new to him) car, so we spent the weekend cleaning out the garage, re-organizing, and getting rid of stuff we don't need/use/want anymore.
We are getting rid of the little red wagon.
I had a red wagon when I was small. I have a few memories of it. Dad used to pull me to the store to buy candy. I remember riding downhill in it as though it were a sled on wheels, using the handle in a vain attempt to steer.
So, sixteen years ago when we had a son, I bought a little red wagon. My father once again was in charge of pulling my children in it through the neighborhood. My main use of it was to pull them to school on the first day of kindergarten.
It is not something that we used a lot, obviously. For the last years, it is has been a makeshift storage bin in the garage for extension cords, gas cans, and most recently seashells that the girls picked up last March on the beach and have been meaning to clean for the last six months.
Clearly, there is no reason to keep it. We don't use it. The kids are too big for it. It is old. It is taking up needed space.
But it pains me to give it away.
I expect that we all have little red wagons in our lives. We don't have a good reason for keeping them around, but they make us smile. They evoke memories. We just know that if we keep them around, we will find a use for them sometime.
Then keener minds prevail, and the wagon goes on the pickup, headed for Goodwill.
That's ok. I would rather use the garage space for Trey's 2003 blue Mustang than for the 1993 red Radio Flyer. The very new memory of seeing his face when he got the keys will not be erased either.
They can take my wagon away, but they cannot erase the memory of seeing my kids pulled by their grandfather. They cannot make me forget the walk from our house to the new Harpeth Valley Elementary School for Trey's first day of kindergarten.
Value your wagons. Value more the kids you pull in them. One is a symbol for the other, and symbols can be discarded while the symbolism remains.
If you see me smiling this week, I might just be remembering the little red wagon.