It was a housewide straightening before the start of hibernation.
My wife asked our 5-year-old to pick out three toys to donate.
Our tornado-ravaged basement needed a cleaning, and there were toys our girls had outgrown. It was a housewide straightening before the start of hibernation.
She chose carefully and with worry. What if she picked incorrectly and gave away her favorite toy?
My 2-year-old handed me a black crayon that was fat, stubby and lacking a paper coat.
"Is this your donation to the cause?" I asked, jokingly.
She thought for a moment and nodded. But before she let go of it, she pulled it back.
"Or we could just put it in the crayon box," she said in a way that was both a question and a declaration.
Just then, our oldest announced her tributes: a ball, a book and a tiny piece of a playset that serves no purpose to anyone without the playset.
The ball, a freebie from an event we didn't go to, was last used during a game of "throw everything, and I'll catch it in this bucket." The baby book, 3 inches squared, was six pages of thick cardboard. It came in a set, but the rest were deemed to important to donate.
Our little one pulled out a plastic dog with a red string on it. When you pull it, the dog bobs his head and wags his tail. This, she decided, was the greatest toy ever created. Instead of donating it, she decided to pull it around everywhere for the rest of the day.
With kids, you collect so much stuff. Scraps from sewing projects, cool looking boxes from packages, those stickers that come on bananas, a lot of things are prized treasures. So my wife and I resolved to thin that stuff and hold off on the big donations for a while.
It's hard to get rid of stuff.
Later, we rearranged their bedrooms and bestowed upon our 2-year-old a "big girl" bed. When do you switch your child from crib to bed? For us, it was when they learned how to climb out. The front of her crib came off to make a little "big girl" bed. But now it was time for the real deal.
I've moved that crib, taking it apart and reassembling it, so many times that when we decided we no longer needed it, I joked I'd disassemble it for the last time with an ax. But my wife did it instead, taking it apart with care so it could be given to someone else. This is what I like about her.
And the moment, we agreed, was really sad. It's hard to get rid of stuff; especially when the stuff in question was where our tiny, baby girls slept.
In the end, we decided we can't become too attached to these possessions. They were part of the memories, but what really mattered wasn't the bed. It was tiny person jumping on top of it.
David Manley is a editor at The Canton Repository. Share your tales with him at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @DaveManley.