There were days I didn’t think I could bear putting one more puzzle back together, or tracking down all of the Little People for their farm and train and airplane. There were just so many of them—they overwhelmed me. Thomas and all his friends; the princess and all her endless pieces; and for the love, Polly and all of her pockets.

I spent my mornings and afternoons pulling them all apart with the kids and then my evenings putting every little piece back in its respective place, seeking and searching for those that had spread to the bedrooms, bathrooms, under tables, and tucked in cushions. I was unable to rest until everything made it back to its respective place. Some nights, I felt exhausted by Thomas and all his friends—defeated by them, even—all those freaking Little People and all their freaking little pieces.

Today I put them together for the last time.

They have been sitting lonely and neglected in the playroom for a long time now. My kids have moved on. It’s now all about the Xbox and iPad, American Girl, the Kindle Fire and Beanie Boos. My little girl loves lip gloss and sewing and crafting, and my not-so-little guy is into science experiments and soccer. We now have practice and games to get to, and friends to hang out with. There’s little time for puzzles and there is no more pretend play for these grown-up kids.

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Long gone are the mornings on the family room floor with Thomas and his trains or the Little People and their farms and planes where we would create and immerse ourselves in their worlds. No more sweet kiddie shows with sweet melodies playing in the background, the theme songs I knew every word of, and tunes I hummed to myself long after the kids were in bed.

And it is making my heart hurt a little—packing these Little People up, leaving these Little People behind.

I want to tell their next playmates, the big ones and the small ones: take good care of them. Don’t worry so much about putting them back into their place, because before you know it, they will be ready to move on. They are only here for a little while, so let them be messy. Let them be anywhere and everywhere.

Love your time with them, because it is fleeting, and believe it or not, you will miss them when they are gone.

So, it’s goodbye to Thomas and his trains—I’ll miss you most, Percy and James—and farewell to the Little People. Thank you for the memories, and for the countless mornings I got to spend playing with my little ones on the floor.

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If you forgive me for taking for granted how quickly your time with us would be, I will forgive you for making me crazy with all of your little parts and pieces and even for breaking my heart, a little.

You will take a little piece of me when you go.

Lori E. Angiel

Lori resides in the suburbia of Western New York with her husband, their 2 children and sweet rescue pup, George Bailey (because, it’s a wonderful life, after all). When not working, she is doing the soccer mom thing on the sidelines of a soccer field, running the local trails and streets (year round in the most obnoxious reflective gear available) with her running (a/k/a support) group while they train for what is always known as the "last race we are ever doing", or shopping at TJ Maxx or Target.  Her favorite things include her training runs, skiing with her family and yoga.  She is also very devoted to drinking wine and spending as much time as possible with her friends and family.  Whenever the opportunity presents itself, you will find her sitting on a beach (applying copious amounts of sunscreen on her kiddos)....all the while writing about the little things in life that occur to her along the way.