I never plan it but it seems like at some point during each move I will find myself alone in my room and tired of unpacking when I discover the blue box with the green lid, labeled 'Joshua'. I see it at the bottom of a moving box and I pull it out and sit on the bed and go through it, touching each item and remembering. A snapshot of our life, January 1996.
This move was no different.
The inventory of the box is short and simple:
- There are several little outfits that I loved to dress him in. I have little memories of him in each one. They are all unfolded. That surprises me every time, but I don't fold them when I put them back.
- There are two soft puffy white shoes that he wore before he could walk.
- The big blue bow that was on his casket. It's crushed and ugly now. Even though I think it is a little morbid to keep it and I am never happy to see it, I don't throw it away.
- There are also a few toys; some round bath toys that made him laugh when I would drop them into the tub. You know that guttural, no holds barred, baby laugh that you never get tired of? That laugh. Those toys make me smile.
- A Buzz Light-Year puppet from Burger King. His first Christmas was the year that Toy Story came out and along with lots of other puppets, Robin and Paul were given all the Toy Story puppets. For some reason he loved the Buzz Light-Year, he would hug it and give it big sloppy baby kisses.
- There is also an elephant that elongates when a cord is pulled and then shortens while it plays 'You Are My Sunshine'. It was hanging on the rail of Joshua's crib and he would play with it in the mornings. I would hear the notes plinking here and there and I knew he was awake. Sometimes I would hear the 'tick-tick-tick-tick-tick' of someone pulling it all the way and I knew Robin and Paul were up too and were playing with him.
I really don't go through Joshua's box other than when we move. I am very sentimental but with all the moving we have done I have learned not be a keeper. Joshua would be 16 now, if he were still alive, I wouldn't have any of these things and I probably wouldn't even remember that we owned any of them. I wonder what things I would keep if my life were turned upside-down today. I wonder if it is a little crazy to keep this box in the first place; if I died tomorrow no one but Paul would even understand the significants of the box's contents. It seems silly. I wonder if Paul ever goes through it, I keep meaning to ask him. Although we both chose things to put in the box, we've never gone through it together.
I wonder other things too but I always put everything back in and with a little pain each time, I carefully put the lid back on. There it all stays, safely tucked away in my closet, in a box.