"" Writer's Wanderings: Toolboxes And Toolbelts

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Toolboxes And Toolbelts

[My "toolbox" closet is still full of toys and games nine years after I wrote this. Now there are lots of memories for our grandkids as well. They remember the toys they played with years ago.]
            Most people think of a toolbox as a place for hammers, screwdrivers, wrenches, and pliers. But toolboxes are created in various shapes, sizes, and venues and for a plethora of needs. I have a little toolbox for all my sewing machine parts that are interchangeable to create embroidery designs. Then there’s the toolbox for my crochet hooks. On my computer there are several “toolboxes” for different programs that I run. And then of course there’s the grandkids toolbox—the one that houses all those little necessities for interaction with the grands when they come to visit.
            This toolbox is pretty big. As a matter of fact, it’s grown to the size of the closet in the hall. It contains games, toys, coloring books and crayons, Play-Doh, plastic plates and food, stuffed animals, Happy Meal toys, trains, cars—the list goes on. The last time we had grands, there was a trail of winter clothing leading to the toolbox. Boots came off in the mudroom, gloves lay on the kitchen floor, jackets in the hall in front of the powder room, and the hats landed somewhere in the foyer as they passed it.
The toolbox is great but sometimes you need more mobility. Here’s where a grandmother’s apron should be replaced by a tool belt. Think of it. You could put crayons and a coloring book in one pocket, several small cars in another. Then slip a small brush in one of the loops—just in case Barbie’s hair gets mussed. Tuck in a few moist-wipe packets, a couple of Fruit Rollups, and a remote control preprogrammed with parent approved children’s programs and you’re ready to roll.
One of the must-have tools on that belt is a magnifying glass. It is good for all seasons. In winter, for looking at snowflakes, in spring, for examining the buds on the trees, in summer, for the insect world, and in the fall, leaf skeletons. Now if you don’t live in a place that has seasons, there are still plenty of uses: looking for pollen on flowers, examining the hairs on an arm or leg, looking more closely at the fibers in a rug, or seeing the grains of sand that make up the beach. Next to chocolate chip cookies, this might be one of the best tools in the whole grandparenting toolbox!
What’s in your toolbox? And is it keeping up with the age level and abilities of your grands? Maybe it’s time to do a little “garage-saling” to find some new things or swapping with other grandparents whose needs are changing too. For years I heard my husband say, “If I have to fix this, I’ll need a new [insert name of tool].” Now it’s my turn. “The grands are coming. I need a new [insert name of ‘tool’].”

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