When I was around 3 years old, my parents made a deal with me: If I would stop sucking my thumb, they would take me to the toy store and buy one toy for me – any toy I wanted. I know a deal when I hear one, so I accepted their bribe – and a month later, I was in the toy store, perusing the aisles, looking for my reward.
I chose a big plastic dump truck. The truck was easily two feet long, the cab of the truck was blue, the dump container was red, and – get this – the dump container worked.
I remember loading blocks and socks and anything else I could successfully dump into the back of that truck, lifting the dumping device, watching the items tumble to the floor, and being absolutely thrilled. Fill, dump, laugh, repeat. It was fantastic.
When I was 4 years old, for Christmas my parents got me a digging truck. This toy was amazing: It was metal (not plastic), it was construction-yellow (not red and blue), it used levers to move the digging arm (instead of just moving the part directly with my hands) – this truck was the real deal.
I adored that truck.
Over time, my interests turned to matchbox cars, then Transformers, then stuffed animals, then boys. I outgrew my truck-playing days.
But still, to this day, I love watching construction machines. Cranes and dozers and front-loaders, they are all incredible. And every single time I see one, I think about my first plastic red-and-blue dump truck, and my yellow metal digger. And my parents. And their insightfulness, and their cleverness, and their generosity.
A few of our neighbors are getting their asphalt driveways replaced with concrete ones. Two days ago the tear-out occurred; yesterday the dirt compressing took place; today, the concrete was mixed and poured.
Mixers. Another great construction machine. I watched the sloppy, heavy, wet cement rush out of the main mixing chamber, down the u-shaped slide, and into wheelbarrows (to then be carted off to the driveways).
And once again, the toys of my childhood came to my mind – quickly followed by a felt-sense of both love and gratitude for my parents.
And I smiled.