Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Aidan recently got it into his head that it would be most efficient to group his LEGO collection by color. I calmly smiled and said, "What a great idea, honey."

Inwardly I performed a number of gravity defying leaps and pirouettes. My child. Creating order. Hallelujah.

I quickly devised a plan to acquire some cute little, Pottery Barn-perfect canvas bins in which to store these delightfully organized bricks. In the mean time, Aidan resorted to shoving each pile into separate gallon sized zip lock bags.

It was tedious. Too tedious to wait for the perfect bin.

So when I found some serviceable little plastic bins at the dollar store, I snatched them up.

My plan morphed just a tad, and I soon envisioned his shelf lined with these substitute bins. I would alternate the bins: blue, green, blue, green. Yes. That would be so pleasing to the eye. Each bin would have a darling printed label naming the LEGO color contained within. It would be a thing of beauty. My heart skipped a beat just thinking about it.

When I brought the bins home, however, it became quite clear that Aidan had a plan of his own. No sooner had I deposited the bins in his room than he began to dump the contents of each LEGO bag. Much to my horror, he also grabbed a green Sharpie and started labeling those bins. On his own.

Without the cute little labels I had envisioned.

I mourned for a period. It took every ounce of willpower in my possession to let this child create his own order and to smile over the work that he was so proud of. And to watch that green Sharpie desecrate the surface of the tidy bins. Which were not placed in alternate order by color, but grouped by color.

The nerve.

Of course, I could have said, "Aidan, this is how we will arrange your LEGOs." And that would have been the end of it. But I knew that this would also have been the end of his contribution to the order. And I truly wanted it to be his work, his order. His growth.

So I stepped back, bit my lip, and witnessed the continued attacks of the green Sharpie.

Later that afternoon, when I returned to see the completed project, I was more than thankful that I had let go. I was given a window into his world through which I could see what "order" means to him.

It was clever the way his labels ran on like a sentence, each color or description followed by a comma as though the bins were all attached to one another like box cars on a train. The final bin was labeled with a description of its contents followed by a squiggly little period:

Oh, this child. To think that I would to force my own order into his world.

Sometimes our plans for order are good. And sometimes letting those little ones around us make their own order is even better. It's all a part of growing up. Especially when Mama acknowledges that they really are big enough to wield a permanent green Sharpie.
Pin It



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...