We bought the little kitchen in 2011.
The girl was sick, she had cancer, and she loved playing with the kitchen in the hospital playroom.
The playroom she was allowed to go into when she had the energy to get out of her bed.
The playroom she was allowed to go into when her immune system was semi-normal, but not when her white count was close to zero and recorded in her medical file.
The little kitchen that had buttons that made noise…noises on the dishwasher and the microwave and the oven. A burner “bubbled” when you put a pot of pretend spaghetti onto it. The telephone rang and the sink sprayer pulled out so you could pretend to rinse your dirty dishes.
She loved playing with that kitchen.
So I scoured the internet in my spare time (when your kid is sitting in a hospital room for days on end, you have A LOT of spare time) until I found the little kitchen.
And I bought the little kitchen for her.
When it was delivered to our farm house her daddy pulled the pieces out of the box and put it together for her.
He inserted batteries in the dishwasher, the oven, and the microwave.
He put stickers on the “window” above the sink.
And she was overjoyed.
As was her 2 year old sister.
The 5 year old sister who didn’t have much hair anymore and her spunky blonde-headed sister had the best time with the little kitchen.
They played with it for many years.
Then she got older.
And the cancer and the doctor visits went away.
And the imaginative play was exchanged for Spotify music and games on the iPad.
The little kitchen was moved to the garage.
And it sat for a few years without any little hands to open the fridge door.
Dust and a few spiders took up residence instead of plastic corn on the cob and tiny dishes with mismatched lids.
We didn’t want to throw it away, the thing still had all of it’s parts and the buttons still worked to make the jazzy sounds that toddlers enjoy so much.
And I don’t like the idea of selling something…we got our money’s worth a long time ago.
One of Man-Farmer’s employees at work is a single mother of a two year old girl.
He asked her if she wanted the little kitchen and she immediately said “yes!”
So, I pulled it out from the dusty corner of the garage where it had been living and cleaned it all up.
I found some plastic dishes and pretend food in a toy bin in the house that hadn’t been discarded for some reason.
I threw those in the sink and scrubbed them up…after they were dry I secured everything in the refrigerator section of the little kitchen as that door stayed securely closed.
And we loaded it into the back of the minivan on Friday.
Man-Farmer was going to take it to work and his employee was going to borrow her mom’s minivan to take the little kitchen to it’s new home.
That morning as the sisters were getting ready to go to school I mentioned that the little kitchen would be leaving and did anyone want to go out to the garage to say goodbye.
I was met with stares and then simultaneous responses of “uh, no.”
They had moved on.
The little kitchen that had brought so much joy to my daughters…normal kid-infused joy that filled our home with giggles and many meals served to us consisting of plastic hamburgers fresh from the tiny oven…during a time that was hectic and full of terror for them had a new job now.
It was going to bring joy to a new little girl.
A little girl who I hope never has to encounter a trauma like cancer that the sisters had to navigate through.
But who made it through with the help of a little kitchen.