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  • When A Box Is Not A Box

    January 31, 2008

    When you are four, a box is not a box, but a boat, and you are a pirate braving the high seas.

    When you are 14, a box is where you stash your childish treasures, hiding them away from the world under your bed.

    When you are 24, a box is how you haul your dreams out of your parent’s house and into your own.

    When you are 34 a box is a small and mostly uncomfortable space that the world has molded you into. It is so small your dreams have to be crushed into dust and sprinkled on top.

    When you are 44, if you are lucky, your dreams have come true in spite of the  world and a box is a boat again, for you and a little pirate boy, braving the high seas.

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    1. Jean says:

      Nicely said. Your talents are impressive.

      January 31st, 2008 at 9:54 am

    2. Mary says:

      I love that the pirate also has a golf club, a guitar and a basketball in his boat. You just never know when you may need to morph into a rockstar-basketballplayer-at the country club kind of dude!

      January 31st, 2008 at 10:12 am

    3. Antique Mommy says:

      Mary, I think he gets his organzing skills from mother. You open a drawer at my mom’s house and it is the most unlikely collection of bizarre and unrelated items.

      January 31st, 2008 at 10:17 am

    4. Julie says:

      Our boxes are always cars. Or robots. But mostly cars.

      January 31st, 2008 at 10:21 am

    5. Nicole (canadacole) says:

      Our boxes get lined up and become a train. I’m not sure where exactly that fits in your metaphor, but I’m having fun thinking about it.

      Great insight, as always 🙂

      January 31st, 2008 at 10:26 am

    6. Hanlie says:

      This post has touched me immensely. You know, I’m in the process of breaking out of my box and moving towards my box becoming a boat.

      January 31st, 2008 at 10:35 am

    7. zoom says:

      I am glad your dreams came true. You are indeed blessed.

      January 31st, 2008 at 10:35 am

    8. Expatmum says:

      In my case a box is something that’s still to be unpacked even though we moved into this house four years ago. I did have a 5 month old at the time though so I’m excusing myself. I should unpack it as it’d make a great boat.

      January 31st, 2008 at 10:46 am

    9. Megan (FriedOkra) says:

      AAH YES, Thank you for reminding me I really don’t wanna be 34 ever again! I’ll even take 44 over 24! Right now, our boxes and laundry baskets are SLEDS. And the contents of our sleds are as thoughtfully chosen as the contents of your pirate ship. It’s an art, you know, the having of the exact right thing at the right time. You just never know when you’re going to need a 2 ft long piece of red and silver ribbon in a driving blizzard. Or a book about Clifford. Or a very tiny whisk.

      That is one mighty happy lookin’ pirate you have there. Yo Ho Ho!

      January 31st, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    10. NoMasNinos says:

      So sweet.

      January 31st, 2008 at 12:26 pm

    11. Quirky says:

      I kinda miss the days where things were simple enough that all you needed was a box (and guitar, golf club and basketball) and you were ready to take on the world. Seems like I “need” a whole lot more boxes these days.

      January 31st, 2008 at 12:26 pm

    12. Heidi says:

      Oh, that’s cute. People keep telling me that Anja will be perfectly happy with just a box and a pot and a wooden spoon for toys. While I think that’s a bit of an exaggeration, I remember loving such items when I was small. So why wouldn’t she?

      So easily pleased…for awhile anyway…’til he realizes you’ve been recycling his Christmas presents. HA!

      January 31st, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    13. Antique Mommy says:

      That is an astute observation Quirky. You know you’re getting older when you need a lot more boxes. And as my cheerful husband just pointed out, ultimately you end up in a box.

      January 31st, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    14. Andrea says:

      Your “cheerful husband” said what I was going to say. 🙂 Ah, the life of a box…

      January 31st, 2008 at 1:23 pm

    15. Ainsley says:

      Love it!

      January 31st, 2008 at 1:41 pm

    16. Nicki says:

      When you’re 94 your box will be full of beautiful memories of your son and his family. I loved your meaphors. I’m going to think of my boxes as gifts that I’ve been given to strengthen and build me. They haven’t all been tied with pretty bows, but I’m grateful nonetheless.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.

      January 31st, 2008 at 1:41 pm

    17. Beth_C says:

      Beautiful! Just beautiful! You have such a way with words.

      January 31st, 2008 at 2:33 pm

    18. Stephanie says:

      Love this one =) Great commentary….

      January 31st, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    19. imagine community says:

      Heartbreaking and heartwarming. All too similar to my own journey. I’m 44 too, with a four-year-old son who came (a surprise) after ten years of hoping.

      In my late 30s, I dreamed repeated dreams about breaking out of a box-like structure; in the last one, I was seated on a bicycle just inside an open door, and the grassy road in front of me curved away after a few feet, and I was rolling.

      January 31st, 2008 at 3:07 pm

    20. Praise and Coffee says:


      January 31st, 2008 at 3:34 pm

    21. Jenny says:

      Not only a great post, but some great comments as well! Very well written, AM!

      January 31st, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    22. Shalee says:

      Just another example of the circle of life.

      I’m so thrilled that your dreams came true despite the stupid world.

      January 31st, 2008 at 3:51 pm

    23. Mamacita says:

      Thank God for 4-year-old pirates.

      January 31st, 2008 at 3:52 pm

    24. Org Junkie says:

      I use those “containers” to organize all sorts of stuff but I never thought of it as a pirate ship, such a creative little boy!

      January 31st, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    25. Miss Sniz says:

      Oh how sweet. I love this post.

      January 31st, 2008 at 4:59 pm

    26. bee says:

      You have a way with words… as always!

      January 31st, 2008 at 5:16 pm

    27. kittyhox says:

      Love it!

      That’s all.

      January 31st, 2008 at 5:38 pm

    28. Girlymom says:

      Oh this is so true!

      January 31st, 2008 at 6:30 pm

    29. Shari says:

      This is my first visit to your blog… I LOVE your thoughts on boxes.
      I’m a rubbermaid girl myself… never really kept boxes around as they don’t respond well to dampness… so the question now is, what metaphor can be drawn from this? Just a silly question from another Mommy!!

      January 31st, 2008 at 6:42 pm

    30. Renna says:

      You have such an amazing gift of putting words together in a way that is magical!

      January 31st, 2008 at 6:54 pm

    31. Jill says:

      Great post. My kids played for an hour in a box today. After Christmas they played in one of the boxes their toys were shipped in for literally 2 weeks. We had to retape it together 3 times. It is safe to say that box got 10 times the use as any of the toys that came in it.

      January 31st, 2008 at 8:24 pm

    32. Kacey says:

      Finally, we get to see the “Peemo Boat”. Sean knew all along. He gets cuter every day, if possible.

      January 31st, 2008 at 9:34 pm

    33. Monica says:

      One thing is for sure , at my house a box is NEVER to be simply thrown out or recycled. It would rescued by my little girls , accompanied by an expression of “what were you thinking?!?!” Then it becomes a cave for my little wild animals to cuddle, hibernate, and serve tea in.

      January 31st, 2008 at 11:13 pm

    34. Jane says:

      This is perhaps my favorite of your posts. I’m looking forward to 44.

      February 1st, 2008 at 2:28 am

    35. Kim says:

      Braving the high seas with a Transformer, a guitar, and a golf club! LOL
      Lovin’ It!

      February 1st, 2008 at 9:44 am

    36. Shelley says:

      Some of my most favorite childhood memories involve me and a box of some sort. Thanks for taking me back there!

      February 1st, 2008 at 11:31 am

    37. Lindac says:

      Very poignant.

      February 1st, 2008 at 6:25 pm

    38. Jean Stockdale says:

      Perfectly put!You have a wonderful way of capturing thoughts and turning them into poetic imagery with your writing. And I am so glad you dreams cannot even fit into a box! Too cute. jean

      February 2nd, 2008 at 9:35 pm

    39. DodiM says:

      This brought a lump to my throat. May I use it in my daughters’ growing up scrapbooks?

      February 4th, 2008 at 11:10 am

    40. Fizz says:

      Oh, this is a beautiful post! Your writing is breathtaking on this one. Thank you for sharing it with us.

      February 5th, 2008 at 1:51 pm

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