Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Decapitated Arthur the Rat Doll

When I hear people saying, "It's a sign from above" or "The Lord is speaking to me", my initial reaction is typically, "that cheeseburger looks good" or "did you see the Golden State Warrior game?"

I just can't listen to that stuff.

The universe is so massive in its unknowable scale it seems so egotistical to believe it has gone out of its way to tap you on the shoulder. Frankly, I'd prefer God feed hungry kids in Africa or free women from their patriarchal masters in the Mideast than to be wasting time with cryptic messages.

However, and here is the turn, last Friday I found myself gobsmacked while returning home from my hike up the Baldwin Hills Overlook.

First some context.

In three months, my youngest daughter will be shipping off to Boulder as a freshman at the University of Colorado. A week after that, my oldest daughter will be returning to the University of Washington for her second year.

My wife and I will be Empty Nesters.

Not full fledged empty nesters because the girls will still be coming home for holidays and summers. They'll bring home dirty laundry, clog up the toilets and leave their shit all around the house. I can't wait.

But I'd be lying if I didn't say the prospect of both girls being out of the house is not a source of anxiety.

Of course, I'm proud but can't help drifting into melancholic nostalgia.

When the girls were younger, much younger, they enjoyed Arthur the Rat (pictured above). We had Arthur books, Arthur VHS tapes and even Arthur CD's. My oldest Rachel, would sit for hours on end in the kitchen, glued to a laptop and reciting the alphabet along with Arthur.

By 18 months she was identifying the magnetic letters stuck on our old white refrigerator.

Arthur the Rat means as much to me as it does to the girls.

Well, you can imagine how I felt when, after notching 17,000 steps on my Jawbone and ascending the Baldwin Hills Stairs four times, I came across this by the park pavillion:

A decapitated Arthur the Rat doll with a reindeer headband.

It's as if the Cosmos was telling me, "your children are not children anymore. They're on their own now. Time to move on to the next stage of your life. It's time to let go."

Then again, that cheeseburger does look good.

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