Abbey's Road: Welcoming Groot as a cardboard companion
Last week a long, skinny Amazon box appeared on our front porch. Size-wise, it looked as if it could have contained a broom suited for a very tall person — which would have been thrilling! — but in fact it was a hefty roll of blackout curtain fabric I’d ordered for a project.
Once I hauled the package through the front door and removed the roll, I tossed the empty box into the living room without thought.
And that’s where the fun begins.
Immediately a conflict ensued between The Architect, 9, my Perpetual Repurposer of Discarded Things, and Tiny, 5, because even in an era of virtual reality and high def, 5-year-olds love boxes. It’s a fact.
Fortunately I was able to dispel the altercation before it came to blows by assuring The Architect that after I was done with the fabric, there would be a fancy, sturdy, six-foot cardboard tube for her to jump over/spy through/pole vault with, and that seemed to settle the issue.
I buried myself in my project while the girls went outside, only to become conscious a little later that the long cardboard box had acquired a magic marker face — eyes, nose, broadly smiling mouth — and was staring at me as I measured and cut.
Evidently this tinge of humanity had merited it a place on the sofa, where it was lying with its corrugated head on a pillow. It had been carefully covered with a throw blanket.
“Um…guys?” I shouted out the door. “What’s with Box Man on the couch? I was going to sit down and work on my crossword for a minute.”
“It’s not ‘Box Man,’” Tiny cut in. “It’s Groot.”
Groot. How could I not have known? The brown trunk. The open flaps that stood on end like hair/branches. This made sense.
If you’re not following, I’m going to do something un-journalistic and copy/paste a Wikipedia entry because Mr. Roy is out of the room and I don’t trust myself to adequately characterize something from Marvel.
“Groot is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. … An extraterrestrial, sentient tree-like creature, the original Groot first appeared as an invader that intended to capture humans for experimentation.
“The character was reintroduced as a heroic, noble being in 2006. …Since his film premiere and animated series debut, Groot has become a pop culture icon, with his repeated line ‘I am Groot’ becoming an Internet meme.”
So there you go. If you asked me, Groot is “the cute little tree guy from that one movie with Andy from Parks and Rec.” (This is why no one asks me.)
So suddenly an empty box has become a heroic, noble, sentient member of our family. Last night when I was getting ready to tuck Tiny in for bed, I looked over at her window seat and noticed Groot lying there, again covered with a blanket. “Ah, so I see you’ve put Groot to bed already!” I remarked.
“Yep, he was tired,” she said.
“I’m sure he’s had a long day. That box…er, trunk…came all the way from Columbus!” I replied.
As I softly closed her bedroom door, I could hear her speaking to Groot in the darkness.
The following morning, I was sipping my coffee and playing Wordle when I heard a commotion in the stairwell. Before I could get up to check what was the matter, Tiny emerged around the corner with her beloved Blankie in one arm and Groot towering above her in the other.
In our house, when something earns a trip downstairs in the morning, it’s basically a member of the family.
So now, until the next big thing comes along, our family consists of five human beings, a disgruntled feline and a box named Groot, who is happily staring me down as I write this. You know what? He’s quiet and considerate. I’m not complaining.
Next time you're struggling with bored children, I highly recommend tossing them a box. You never know what it might become.
Abbey Roy is a mom of three girls who make every day an adventure. She writes to maintain her sanity. You can probably reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org, but responses are structured around bedtimes and weekends.
This article originally appeared on Newark Advocate: Abbey's Road: Welcoming Groot as a cardboard companion