He Figured it Out

We have reached the end. The actual end. My boy has chosen not to the get Lego Advent calendars this year. None of them. I understand. I’m glad. And yet…..my heart aches a bit.

He was just six years old when he was gifted his first Lego Advent calendar box. He was in love. He studied the box every night, staring at the pictures printed in front of each little perforated square. He would wake up very early every morning begging me to let him go downstairs to open another section to see what was behind the little cardboard door. Patience was a hard fought lesson for my energetic little man. And Lego was his favorite thing in his entire world. Discovering and building something new every day was like a little bit of magic for him. A tradition was born.

His uncle was fascinated by the plastic bricks as a child. He is now an AFOL (Adult Fan of Lego). The Lego Advent calendar was his gift to my boy each Christmas. Since he lives on the other side of the country, and they rarely see each other (only 3 times in 15 years), this was a special thing between uncle and nephew – between Lego novice and Lego connoisseur. The tradition continued every year. Lego introduced new types of Advent calendars, issuing multiple sets per year. First there was the City set. Then City and Star Wars. Eventually Harry Potter was added, as well. He received every set, every year. (Not exactly, as there is also a Lego Friends set that did not interest him. But close enough.)

Lego was a healer in this house. Lego taught patience to a boy who ran in high gear for his every waking hour. Lego revealed the reward of perseverance to a child who stopped an activity when small struggles felt like monumental failures. Lego (figures) gave comfort to a body overflowing with anxiety. Lego instructions encouraged a reluctant reader. Sitting with a pile of bricks and pages of instructions, this child who typically embodied movement with a voice was suddenly still. He would concentrate. He would assess and analyze and try and fail and try again. He was enthralled. He was proud. You could see it in his face, in his posture – like discovering you’re one of the cool kids.

It wasn’t long after discovering the joy of Lego that he discovered the magic of Lego figures that would fit in his pocket. His favorite thing could go with him everywhere. And they did. There was always the fear of losing them, but for a boy who desperately felt the need for comfort when he was away from home, this provided that in a very discreet – and maybe even cool – way. Lego figures (or, as they became known, ‘the guys’) were his security blanket. They were my salvation (once I understood). (see also I am…)

Lego was the trigger in our house – for everything good and everything bad. Losing access to his Lego was the highest punishment. A road trip to the Lego store was a magnificent treat. He would get numerous sets for his birthday and Christmas or any other milestone that we encountered along the way. The tooth fairy began leaving Lego mystery packs under his pillow. Every visit to his grandparents’ included a scavenger hunt that lead him to a new Lego set for no reason at all. He would beam and cheer with delight at all of it. We registered with brickest.com to track all his sets. He began dictating reviews for me to add on his profile. He started taking pictures of his sets and eventually making stop-action movies. We have video tours of the differences between the old Millennium Falcon and the new Millennium Falcon, of the mechanisms on the Marvel helicarrier, and the gyroscopic maneuvers of the Slave I. This was truly a Lego house.

Now, the first hints of manhood have crept into our house. The bulkier teenage body isn’t interested in hunching over tiny bricks on the floor. Video games and YouTube have taken time from building. Maturity found better ways to ease anxiety than carrying ‘guys’ around in pockets all the time. Lego has been set aside in pursuit of other interests. I wondered if this day would actually come. The depth of Lego engrossment in this house led to some serious doubt. The only vocational goal he talked about was to become a Lego Master. But the day has come. Lego is not gone, but it has stagnated. After nearly a decade, it is time for this part of his life to rest quietly while he explores new horizons.

At one time, I didn’t know how to help him quiet his mind and listen to his body – he figured it out. There was a time I didn’t know how to help him feel safe out of his house – he figured it out. I wasn’t sure how to support him as he grew into himself and out of his childhood loves – he figured it out.

Someday we’ll have to pack up all 170,000 bricks somehow…….eh, he’ll figure it out.

8 thoughts on “He Figured it Out

Add yours

  1. Robyn, this is one of the most touching pieces you’ve written. (but thinking about it, you’ve written your heart and mind so beautifully from the beginning). Ryan has reached this milestone with your help and constant love. I so admire you. Wishing you and your son blessed holy days every day, all year long. Love from George and me❤️🎄❤️ Peg

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My son is only just 6 and sound very similar. I had hoped Lego would do the same for him. It saved a family holiday a few years ago. But like most interventions with my boy it only lasted a while. He still loves Lego, but it hasn’t been his saving grace. I on the other hand have become completely addicted to Lego and am now a AFOL. 🙂 My kids are mostly too young to have reached these milestones, but they are on the horizon. I feel your sence of loss of innocence.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The interventions often seem temporary, don’t they? You celebrate their win only to find a new challenge creeping in close behind. Still celebrate tho’ – they deserve it! It’s hard work living in a world that doesn’t understand you and doesn’t seem to *want* to. I hope a new tool reveals itself to you soon. In the meantime – enjoy the LEGO!!!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Yes, you are right. Another parent described it to me as needing a tool kit of interventions. Which makes sense of course. We don’t use the same tools for everything else in life so why try raising children with just one tool. I guess it’s the effort needed to change your approach ecah time. My wife it better at that than I. 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It can certainly be exhausting! Tools that work for one child may be a disaster for another. And, yes, it is an ever-evolving tool kit! Feeling like I wasn’t adapting to a new tool fast enough for my son was a big source of sorrow for many years. The trial & error can feel like failure, but, it’s important to remember it is LEARNING – not failure. It’s great to have a spouse/partner to team up with for ideas, strength, and support.

      Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Website Built with WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: