When we were reading Where the Red Fern Grows and I was pondering childhood and being a little boy, I thought of my Benji.
He keeps treasures.
Under his pillow.
Under his bed.
His favorite underwear and shirts and pants, stowed away underneath so that he can wear them another day. Oh yes, it's true.
But it makes me smile, too.
Everything is valuable to him and he doesn't miss a single thing.
Last week I did a major sorting/cleaning frenzy and went through their rooms like I do every few months. And I cleaned out under his pillow when he wasn't around because then he wouldn't even notice.
This is what I found.
Oh, ya know. The wrapper for the M&M candies we had at Christmas time for Christmas cookies, a screwdriver, scissors, trains, a top, his flashlight, a football.
And peel back the top layer and you find this:
Coins, a favorite pair of underwear (yes), a jingle bell necklace, crackers, a wrapper from a fruit snack (wow...apparently we eat really well around here), a heart necklace, his helicopter, a bean bag.
And another layer and you find this:
His wind up crocodile, wheels from his IKEA building set, a favorite stamp, crayons, his plastic lion cup, a velvet pouch, a yellow construction car, rings.
It's really unbelievable, actually.
And it's kind of gross -- which is why I get after him about it and, much to my chagrin, clean it out myself every once in a while. But, but, BUT.
Then I think about this little person, how he hides away scraps and pieces and trinkets.
They become pieces he can use in his imagination and each thing has a place.
He can become a boy out in the fields or a swordsman looking for his next duel or Superman on a new mission.
He can be and do anything he wants, and it is fun to watch from the outside.
The M&M wrapper is precious because of what was in it.
He definitely needs his screw driver for those jobs that require tools.
Provisions are always a practical thing to have on hand, and quite necessary for all of your exploring expeditions.
Underwear is always a good idea.
I mean, it's a good habit. I'm just sayin.
Trains and other things that move are like gold for this guy.
You might need that flashlight in the dark.
Favorite scissors to cut with and things to write with are handy for sure.
No arguing about that.
And chocolate, ah now, I understand that one perfectly.
Not pictured here, but I think one of the best (or funniest) things I ever found was a dead cricket or grasshopper under there. Yep. Nothing like a good dead bug to admire.
He is imaginative and sometimes I think he has an extra shot of testosterone.
Sometimes it can make me bonkers.
I LOVE his tender heart, the way he plays big and doesn't shy away from acting out whatever character he has become in his mind.
The way he holds things close that have significance to him.