I have now gone through all of Judson’s clothes and belongings. It was bitter-sweet. It was bitter to recognize that his toys and wardrobe hold no value now, other than as mementos, but they did trigger sweet memories.
So many of Jud’s clothes smelled like him and brought back wonderful thoughts of the past.
I pulled out his puffy green vest that his Aunt Danielle, Uncle Marty, and Cousin Ella had given him for his 2nd birthday. I remembered one of the days we had put it on him, we informed him that there was a bobsled on the chest.
He responded inquisitively, “Bob the Sled?”
After roars of laughter from my mom and me, Jud proceeded to tell everyone he saw throughout the day that he had “Bob the Sled” on his vest.
Then there was his gray shirt with a race car on the front. Without fail, every time I asked Jud what he wanted to wear, he would say, “My race car shirt!”
With stains and all, I was happy to oblige. He wore it with pride.
We had his car mechanic coveralls from last year’s Halloween in the closet. I recalled taking him to the pumpkin patch on Halloween day, and though he was willing to go in the petting farm with the sheep and goats, and peruse the pumpkins, all he really wanted to do was sit in the wagon that was hooked up to a tractor that no longer functioned.
Later on we went for an actual wagon ride and the driver let Jud sit in the seat of the tractor. He talked about driving the tractor for months thereafter. Looking back now, it was probably one of the highlights of his little life.
I had never seen Jud get quite so excited over a piece of clothing as he did when we gave him his own pair of flip flops. He had clearly observed that mommy and daddy, along with other adults, seem to wear flip flops regularly, because when I brought him into the bedroom and pulled out his new camouflage flip flops, freshly purchased from the sale rack at The Gap, he literally started jumping up and down and clapping. You couldn’t wipe the smile off his face if you had tried.
After I put these blessed shoes on his feet, he went racing into the other room to show his dad, and in his exuberance he tripped along the way, not yet accustomed to running in his new shoes.
Even more so than his clothing, his toys brought back vivid memories…
He had a wooden train set that enabled us to build different track designs. He regularly asked Drake and me to help him design a new track, and without fail, Jud always sat in the middle of the track to play with his trains. Even if there was only a small space for him, he would find a way to be in the center.
On the day Jessie was born, we had a wrapped toy train that we gave to Jud when he first came to the hospital to visit his new sister; we told him that Jessie had brought him a gift. Judson enjoyed the train regularly, and anytime you asked him who gave him that specific train, he always responded, “Jessie Girl.”
Jud had a fascination with clocks. Well before he turned one, he began pointing out every clock he saw and “clock” wound up being one of his first words. We could be in any room and it was as if he was a “clock detector” and would recognize even the strangest of time keepers to be clocks.
One of his favorite books, Dr. Seuss’s “Mr. Brown Can Moo,” had a page with odd looking clocks, but Jud knew they were clocks nonetheless. He would turn the pages of the book very quickly until he landed on the page where Mr. Brown “can sound like a clock. He can tick. He can tock.”
Like many kids, Judson also enjoyed playing with blocks. He would build “cars” and “trucks” and “cranes” and “buildings.” He found great pleasure using his imagination to make some of his favorite things with his blocks.
Drake used to enjoy building “tall towers” with Judson and then would encourage Jud to knock them over, and they would both shout “CRASH!” Soon Jud became so good at knocking over the “tall towers” that Drake began to call him “Judzilla.” Jud loved this nickname.
Sweet, sweet memories flooded my mind as I went through each of Jud’s items. The experience turned out to be painfully pleasant.
Many of his belongings, now momentos, will be cherished forever!