The Shoebox Theory

In my closet, next to my baseball cards and trophies lives an old shoebox. This shoebox has been in my possession since I was nine years old. Not a soul knows what has lived inside that shoebox for the last nineteen years, except for my mother. And now you.

For as long as I can remember I’ve loved a girl. Not a specific girl, but in general. There has just always been a girl to admire. I have only been in two relationships in my life, and both were when I was 18. This year I will be 28. So yeah… A bit of a dry spell in the last 10 years, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t met and fallen for girls. Went on a couple dates and liked a few. None of them worked out.


When I was in the 4th grade I liked a girl named Elizabeth (Can’t remember her last name). Elizabeth and I would hangout on the playground, we’d play kick ball, and ate lunch together. Then one day she was over me. She moved on overnight to a kid named Michael Normington. She probably had commitment issues, which seems to be a pattern for girls I’ve liked. Joking. Maybe, I don’t know. We were 9.

I remember I was devastated. I came home from school, went straight to my room and cried myself to sleep (I still treat rejection the same). My mom woke me up right before dinner time and obviously knew something was wrong. I told her what had happened, she then held me and told me a life lesson I’d never forget.


My mom told me to write down everything I liked about Elizabeth. Everything I could think of that made me want to like her, which at the time was nothing significant, but for story sake I had written a few things about her that made me interested. Pretty sure I wrote “Plays kickball like a boss, likes to catch frogs, and let’s me have her snack pack.”

After I had written down these things, my mom pulled out one of my shoebox’s and told me to put what I had written inside. And every time I came across a girl that I fell for, I was to write the things I loved about her and put it in the box. She then proceeded to tell me, that when the time comes for me to meet the girl of my dreams, I am to pull out the box and read all the things I’ve written over the years and I’ll know, I have the real deal.

doll house.JPG

Now of course not everything is going to sync up with my future paramour, or what I have transcribed over the years (although I do hope she plays kickball like a boss) and one thing is for certain, nobody is perfect, but it’s helped me to know that my girl is out there. Even when it’s sometimes hard to focus on the future, especially when things look grim, with the one you care deeply about.

When that day comes I’ll know. The things I will have written about her, will someday overflow the shoebox. She will be more than I would’ve ever dreamed of, and more than words could ever write on those little sheets of paper.

I still add to the shoebox…

Just the other day I added about a girl I’m fond of. “Loves sports mainly baseball and hockey, fishing is key, family is most important, and loves Disney and Star Wars.”

One day I’ll pass down the shoebox theory to my kids, or I’ll give the idea to my wife to then give to our kids, so that they can hear it from mom. Just like my mom did for me.

Because moms always know best.

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