I had some free time in Tacoma a few weeks ago and wandered into a Big Lots!. I don't tend to spend much time in Big Lots!; I'm not sure I've been in one since we left Turlock. But I found myself in the back corner, back where they sell the cheap plastic toys made in China and shipped over here to fill our closets. And I had a flashback to visiting Big Lots! back in the day, when we'd wander in there with Olivia in a stroller, and we could spend $.95 and it made her happy for a couple days. Back when we'd push the shopping cart back there and her eyes would light up at the splendor of plastic cars and dolls and dogs and buckets and such. Back when we could buy one of those cheap plastic things and give it to her in the car, and all would be well.
The good old days.
While in Colorado, Olivia officially became eligible to join in for the Middle School activities. Even Clara is mostly past the stage of being fascinated by cheap plastic trinkets. The back corner of Big Lots! has lost its hold on our kids as they move into more complicated things, like puzzles and tree houses and books and lighting fires in the back yard.
The kids are growing up and the wonders of toddler-hood have been left behind. And that just makes me a little bit sad.