Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Power of a Box

There is power in a box. I’m not talking about what arrives inside the box; I’m talking about the box itself. Doesn’t it just make your day when the UPS truck pulls in and the happy man in brown walks up to your door with a box? (OK, my brown guy isn’t always happy and sometimes he tosses the box on my porch with very little flourish while scanning the horizon for my dog who is on record for having bitten a UPS man – the only person she’s ever bitten in her 15 years – I swear!)

Years ago I signed up to be a Mary Kay consultant mostly because I loved the little boxes that the products came in. Recently, I ordered jewelry from a friend who does home sales and adored the boxes that arrived - they were decorate on the inside! Even when it’s just more vacuum cleaner bags, I’m still happy to see a box arrive with my name on it.

But the best boxes, I mean the very best boxes, are the BIG boxes. The ones that come with the new refrigerator or other large appliance. Those boxes have real power.

When we first moved in to the house where we live now, the packers used enormous boxes. Boxes large enough for three children to fit inside. My children had an endless supply of “Transmorgafiers.” What?  You've never heard of a “transmorgafier?” Well, a transmorgafier can do anything – change you in to a different species altogether, plus it has its own weapons system and can travel through time and space.

A big box could grant my children hours of escape from the reality of gravity, time, and the normal disdain for a sibling. After we had settled in to our new house, we were blessed with big boxes once again as we had to replace each large appliance in the house one by one. More transmorgafiers, and eventually simple time machines that catapulted my kids back in time to before the dinosaur age. They would hide from us and then chatter on walkie-talkies about the strange beings on two legs and the even stranger ones with fur and claws.

I just love the power boxes have over children. So when my birthday present arrived on Saturday in the biggest box ever – I wondered if the magic still worked. We unloaded the beast, a treadmill which was thankfully in pieces, and left the monster box on the front porch. All of my children were happily ensconced in front of their respective favorite boxes (computers). So I casually approached the nine-year-old, figuring he would be most susceptible to the thrill of a big box. “There’s the biggest box I’ve ever seen on the front porch,” I said.

Without even looking up from his screen, he said, “Uh-huh. I’ll come at look at it when this is over.”

A few minutes later, I heard a loud whoop, followed by his cries for his siblings to come see this! His 13-year-old sister could not be bothered and when I told her it was a big box, she said, “So?” and went back to her personal box.

My 15-year-old was wandering around with his ear buds in and watched his little brother with growing interest. The 9-year-old retreated to the house for markers and his nerf weapons. He proceeded to draw all the necessary buttons and levers on the inside of the box, still yelling for his siblings to come and be amazed.

When my husband and I looked out a few minutes later, both boys were in the box. They were discussing the control panel. We overheard the oldest say happily, “I feel like I’m four years old.”

As expected, once there were two boys in the time machine, their sister had to crash the party. She wandered around saying how silly they looked for awhile, but in the end she joined the nerf battle that broke out and soon all three were running around the yard with nerf guns battling whatever creatures they had encountered in the next galaxy.

My husband came inside after sneaking a few pictures and said, “That’s the best Father’s Day present ever.”

I love boxes. They have the power to keep my kids, kids.

Some past favorite boxes -

Addie in the first transmorgifier

Many boxes became fortresses to be defended

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