Sunday, September 10, 2017

A Turtle Tale

This was no ordinary turtle that I found two years ago by the road with the rest of somebody's trash.  It was a large dark green creature with a removable shell that serves to cover the sand housed in the lower half of its body when not in use. I envisioned it would be my granddaughter Maddie's sandbox. I did not hesitate to park at the shoulder near the house and hauled the large two part plastic turtle to my car.

It took a couple of years before it was filled with sand. It just leaned unused on the wall of our house in the back yard underneath the deck. I knew it would be utilized eventually. I realized in life things do happen except not in ones time. I just had to be patient and wait for that proper time which was not easy for me.

Last year I had wanted to place it on our deck and fill it with sand. This would have been more convenient for me since I never liked sitting outside in the yard to watch Maddie play. Everybody in my family nixed the idea since it just would not fit in the narrow deck we had then so they claimed. Our deck was not also safe for her to be in. It had rotting wood that had splinters from years of neglect. Maddie at three years old also was not into playing with sand then but it would be just a matter of time.

This is the second year we got a family membership to the delightful Pittsburgh Zoo. Last year they opened the so called Island which features animals from tropical places around the world including crocodiles and pigs from the Philippines. It also has a large sandbox which was inviting to a lot of kids but not to the then three year old Maddie. This year, however, things have changed for Maddie who just turned four this July. Playing in the sandbox is now the highlight of her trips to the zoo.

This summer we decided to finally build a new and larger deck. One of the reasons I opted for a bigger one was to have space to house the plastic inflatable pool Maddie loves to play in. I was also looking forward for Maddie to play in the green turtle sandbox that had been sitting idle underneath the old deck on this expanded one.

When the new deck was finally finished, the builder warned us to not put heavy objects like hot tubs or heavy fire pits or that inflatable pool he heard me say I was planning to use the deck for. Their weight can cause the floor to sag. The first two were not in my agenda so I did not care but the last one was a let down.

I just set aside my disappointment and focused on shopping for a dining table, chairs, umbrella, namely, stuff for what decks are made for, namely, dining. Last Sunday, when we finally got to eat outside in our deck with Maddie's family I decided it was time to use the deck for what I always dreamed, a place for my two grand kids to play. I asked my husband to bring up the turtle sandbox to the deck and fill it with what sand we have. Seeing Maddie and her younger brother play with so much fun in it gave us all great joy.

Through this all I was wondering why I was obsessed in using this sandbox. The answer came to me when I was watching the TV sitcom Mike and Molly named after the lovable, adorable main characters who were married to each other. In this sitcom's particular episode Mike was totally devastated when Molly's Dad decided to sell the boat Mike had helped him rebuild. He was promised by Molly's Dad that they would go fishing when it was done which now would not happen.

Mike's mom explained his son's extreme disappointment and meltdown with the story that involved Mike's Dad. Young Mike one day saw his dad packing his clothes. When Mike asked his dad why, he said he was taking a trip but would come back the next morning and they would go fishing. Mike waited early the next day sitting on the porch for his dad but sadly he never came back.  His dad left the family for good and Mike's wish to go fishing with him was not fulfilled.

This sitcom's episode is sort of a metaphor for an incident, albeit less dramatic and traumatic, that happened to my daughter Wendy, Maddie's mom. When Wendy, was the same age as Maddie she had a sandbox made of bricks which I and her grandma built for her. Wendy spent countless hours playing in it. Unfortunately it did not have a cover and the neighbor's cats pooped in it. We decided for health reasons to dismantle the sand box. Later on when Wendy was an adult, she mentioned she was devastated when we decided to do so. My heart sank when I heard this since I did not know the extent of her disappointment until then.

When I saw the TV sitcom yesterday, I finally realized why I badly wanted a place for the green turtle sandbox and for it to be used. I just wanted to make it up to Wendy through her daughter.

All is well with the sand box. Except for one thing. Maddie's baby brother who is one and half decided to eat the sand while in it. It is not the proper time yet for him. But as I have learned from my experience with the green turtle sandbox, there's always a time and place for everything and a reason.

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