For as long as I can remember my son Matthew played with LEGOS – those colorful square and rectangular-shaped bricks used to build all kinds of amazing things from miniature cities to Star Wars characters.
From the time he was four or five until he was about fourteen, he would spend hours creating all kinds of amazing structures, vehicles, and creatures out of those tiny little bricks. Then he would make up stories, directing movies starring the creations he had built.
Before we’d start homeschooling each day, a new ‘episode’ would play out all over the living room floor. Battles would rage on for days and weeks at a time, leaving a trail of LEGO parts in their wake. The victors would celebrate by staying intact, the losers would be taken apart to be rebuilt another day.
Every time a new LEGO set would come out, Matt would calculate the cost and set a big jar on his dresser keeping track of how much more he needed to add in order to purchase the new kit. Sometimes he’d beg for an advance in his allowance to become the proud owner of yet another set of colorful building bricks.
Although we never made the trip to LEGOLAND in Southern California, we did get a chance to visit the LEGO Imagination Center located inside the Mall of America when we traveled to Minnesota in 2004. We were all intrigued by the huge models of dinosaurs and buildings we saw. Matt was thrilled to be able to take his picture next to a life-sized version of Jango Fett, a character from Star Wars
, built entirely out of LEGOS.
We purchased (yet) another set of LEGOS, a large pagoda building with thousands of little pieces. We (yes, I helped him) assembled and disassembled it several times over the next few days while staying at the hotel. Then before the big car trip home we packed it back up. Rebuilding it when got home, it’s still in one piece as seen in the photo below, stored in a box, in Matt’s closet.
His collection still occupies several shelves in his closet and boxes in the garage. Some still look like they did the day they were created. Other’s show the years of use (and abuse in battles) missing critical pieces or entire chunks. But nevertheless, he keeps them all as memories of the past.
I think of all the times we spent constructing the different sets. It was quite a process – opening the little bags and separating the contents into cupcake tins and cookie sheets. Once the separation process was complete, Matt would ask for parts like a surgeon asking for tools during surgery. I’d find them, give them to him and then he would build the kit, step by step. Sometimes he even let me help. I have to admit, there was great satisfaction in producing an amazing end product just from bits and pieces of random parts.
But now those years seem so far away. The once coveted LEGOS sit covered with dust. Dialogues of the year-long epic battles are but fuzzy memories. But I still see a little boy, lying on the floor, putting 100% into playing with his beloved toys.
Matt and Jango Fett
Actually they were much more than toys; they were Matt’s imagination coming to life daily over a period of ten years. I tend to believe making up those epic stories with his LEGOS sparked the endless creativity he now draws on when he writes stories or music — thanks to a bazillon little colorful, plastic building bricks.