Stuffed toy international

Driving by, I saw the obviously intriguing building on the corner. An old toy store, called Stuffed Toy International, abandoned for some time.

Stuffed toy international

A wholesale outlet that was open to the public.

Stuffed toy international sign

It looks like an apartment or house was attached.

Dormers on old building

No one lives there now.

Abandoned apartment or house

Looking closer, I could make out some writing on the door. A note, scratched into the paint that covered the windows, describes a sad scene indeed. A parent or caregiver reaches out to two “kids” looking for the love that he or she is missing.

The door was shut and the words were backward. I flipped the image for better readability.

Note scratched into the paint on an old door

This is what I can make out of the note, starting from the top left window.

Why can’t I get the same love and concern that I have always felt for you kids?

[I’m tired?] of loving and caring for two kids who can’t return my feelings.

I want to see […?]

What’s your hang up? Teresa I love you.

[Kenny you?] really let me down. It’s time to prove [you care?]

I [hate/have?] to leave you

Why is it scratched into the paint? Didn’t the author have a pen and paper? This makes things seem that much more desperate. Or maybe it was a spur of the moment decision. There were two bars within walking distance, which made me think that maybe the writer had knocked back a few before telling those kids what was on his or her mind.

Why were the windows painted over? And why is the note backward when the door is closed? Was the writer inside the house while writing the note, or perhaps the door was open?

And why is the note still there?

I’m getting hung up on these details, I think, to distract myself from the sadness I feel when I imagine a mother writing this to her (in her mind) ungrateful children. I think every parent feels unappreciated at times, taken for granted, but to feel so bad as to write a note like this? Wow.

This person seems to have hit a breaking point. Did the message get through? Did they reconcile?

This also got me wondering would I ever feel so pushed as to leave a note like this for my kids? What kind of relationship will we have when they get older? I always hope it’s going to be a good one. How do I prevent a situation arising where I feel I need to scratch a note to my kids in the paint that covers the windows of the door to the house?

I think this touches on my deepest, darkest parenting fear and mantra, which is: try not to fuck this up. I hope to have a close relationship with my kids as we get older. I’m afraid of losing them somehow along the way, of them becoming the kind of people who say, “I’m not really close with my family.” Who don’t call or come home for holidays. Who don’t want to share their lives with me.

Everyone makes mistakes, and we hope that those mistakes can be fixed. It takes work, and all parties have to be willing to do the hard work of communication and forgiveness.

But sometimes mistakes and bad feelings pile up, time goes by, and one day there’s a note on the door.

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