Hand with paintbrush painting blue sky and clouds

Susan and I spent a recent Saturday cleaning out a few closets in dire need of organizing. One of the closets was in the kid’s playroom, which doubles as an auxiliary storage facility for the Lego corporation. Looking over the sprawling city of assembled police stations, firehouses, planes, cars, and little Lego people, I started to calculate the cost of it all. Somehow, instead of the good people at Lego paying rent to store these items in my home, I’d been bamboozled into paying them to keep it all.

My immediate urge was to vent at the boys, tell them we needed to cut back on the Legos. But the little guys weren’t in the house. Once they’d heard the cleaning word that morning, they’d mysteriously disappeared outside to play with Nerf guns, another corporation we open our bank account to for the privilege of storing their products in our garage. (I am in the wrong business.)

After we finished cleaning the closet, I looked over the Lego city in the playroom once more and remembered a time over thirty years ago when I’d wanted a go-cart. My dad pointed out that all the money I’d spent on comic books over the years, the ones stacked in my room and in my closet, would have bought a nice go-cart. I eventually got my go-cart, but always felt a little guilty about the money “wasted” on the comics once I stopped reading them.

But in the playroom, with the memory vivid in my mind, I realized something. I hadn’t thought about that go-cart since the day I stopped riding it. But I’ve thought about those comics often: the stories, the characters, the fantastical worlds they whisked me away to. Those comics carried me so much further than the go-cart ever did.

I walked out of the playroom that day with a new appreciation for Legos. Those colorful blocks are not taking up space in my home; they are taking up space in my boys’ imaginations. And that is worth every penny.

2015 update:

Our youngest, Cort, came home from school after a day of taking state-wide end-of-grade tests. One section dealt with reading and comprehension. His instructions were to read a story, then answer some questions about what he’d read, including describing the author’s intent. As he read the story, he began to think it sounded eerily familiar. It wasn’t that he’d read it before, just that the situation sounded close to home. A woman named, Susan, his mom’s name, a playroom full of legos, which he and his brother had enjoyed for years, and a dad who vents about too many things. He got quite the shock when he read the author’s name, mine, at the bottom of the story.

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