The Volkswagon Beetle

One of my two-year-old's favorite toys is a tiny Matchbox-type orange Volkswagon Beetle. I say Matchbox-type because it's not a stronger model Matchbox or Hot Wheels, instead it is a cheap diecast metal car that was in a package of other cheap diecast metal cars that my husband brought back for him on a trip to Korea.

Not to take anything away from the cars themselves as a gift; they were pretty cool and the look on his face when "Daddy" brought them home for him to open up was priceless. I turned my head on the actual quality of the cars and left it at that.

In the pack of cars was a red double decker tourist bus, a tv satellite truck (which I thought was really cool, given my former profession) a police car and an orange Volkswagon Beetle. The funny thing is, my husband didn't know there was a Beetle in there until we opened it up. But that was my husband's first car: an orange Volkswagon Beetle, the really old kind. So it's even funnier that our child took such a liking to that car.

After hours of non-stop play, the car finally went kaput. First it was the front wheels. My husband tried to fix it by taping them. But the next day, my son ran up to me yelling, "Uh oh!" and I saw that the wheels had broken again, and when I tried to fix it the car just crumbled. Both sets of wheels fell off, the body came apart and all there was left was its sad orange shell.

Nothing short of a soddering iron was going to fix this.

Try explaining that to a two-year-old.

First, I looked down at these big weepy two-year-old eyes. I can see him trying to wrap his tiny mind around what has happened. He looked up at me and said, "Peese?" hoping that if he asked nicely, I would fix it for him. And I really wanted to. I have impressed even myself with my toy-fixing capabilities. Mommy usually fixes everything. But this one was a goner.

So I said, "I'm sorry, sweetie. We have to say good-bye to the car. It's broken. And sometimes when things are broken, they just can't be fixed. I promise we'll try to get you a new one." And I put it in the junkyard, aka the top of my dresser.

But as the words left my mouth, I was thinking about what I said and how I was going to store away this memory because it is a perfect metaphor for life and the many brokens that my little boy is going to have to face in his life and I was sad. It broke my heart to try and explain to him in terms he would understand that his car was no more. I so wanted to fix that car for him. Like I will want to fix everything in his life that is broken or going wrong or missing.

And even though I wanted to run out and replace orange beetle for him right away, I don't think I will. I will let little orange Volkswagon Beetle rest in peace. Besides, he's already run off with a silver car he found somewhere in the living room and forgotten about it. So for now, I'll just thank God for the luxury of a two-year-old's attention span.
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  1. I really loved that post. On this weekend I'm babysitting my 3 year old nephew. And I know such situations. Although I'm not his mom, I know what you're talking bout fixing anything. But we can't they have to go through all that pain, just like we did. But they will do.
    Luckily they don't know yet. Luckily they're still young.

    Hugs, Sonny

  2. Aw, so bittersweet, and it really is like a metaphor for life. So sweet. Poor little guy. :)

  3. What a great metaphor like you said. I've had this similar converstaion with my kids a few times over toys that had to be laid to rest.


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