Tonight my daughter wanted to go see Toy Story 3 and I jumped at the chance. Mostly because she doesn’t find much time to spend with me between her job and friends and boyfriend. Although we live in the same house, a teenager’s priority list has “spend time with mom” way down there, after cleaning out her closet and doing her laundry. I wasn’t nuts about seeing Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head, although I remember liking the first Toy Story many years ago.
It was in 3-D, and I was glad to be wearing the 3-D glasses because I got choked up toward the end and my eyes were misting like a foolish old woman who gets sentimental at a movie about a bunch of talking toys whose “boy” grows up and goes off to college.
I identified with those toys. When my son, my firstborn, was a baby, I used to look down at him in my arms and know that, even at that very second, he was getting older. I could see him outgrowing one set of clothes after another until he packed them up and moved away. It broke my heart.
He’s moved out, but his closet is still full of clothes I’ve kept because of their memories. His Tae Kwon Do uniform is still there, plus all his tees and sweatshirts from his high school snowboard team. His Boy Scout shirt is there, even though he was only a scout in 4th and 5th grades. Every souvenir T-shirt he got at Disneyland or at Trailblazers basketball games is there.
What does this have to do with Toy Story? Beats the hell out of me. My son had this big stuffed parrot about the size of a real one that he took everywhere. He’d fly it around the back yard where it found every kind of adventure. Once he propped it up in a swing and took a picture of it, then made a wooden frame and put the picture in it and put that in his bookcase where it still sits to this day.
It’s obvious that this train of thought is not going to produce anything funny, is it? Since I’m on a roll, I might as well see this through. Remember that song, “Puff the Magic Dragon?” I used to sing the chorus when it came on the radio but never knew the rest of the words until it was on a tape of kid’s songs. I listened to the words in the car because those tapes played everywhere we went. I discovered that Puff was a toy, not a real magic dragon. Turns out there was a kid named Little Johnny Paper who played with Puff in a land called Hanalei. Who knows if I’m getting these names right because those tapes were scratchy. This little Paper boy played with Puff until one day he grew up and put Puff away, and Puff never got to come out and play again.
When I first figured out poor Puff’s fate, I was so sad. “What kind of story is that for a kid?” I thought. It ranks up there with Ole Yeller. Ever seen that one? About the sweet family dog that was so spunky and made you wish more than anything that you had a dog just like him, and then… well you ought to rent it if you haven’t seen it, but buy a box of Kleenex.
Oh good grief, I’m whimpering and my eyes are watering. I could think of some more very sad things, but I can’t take it anymore. I have been on an emotional roller coaster ever since I saw that Toy Story movie, and there’s no cure but chocolate. Thank goodness I made some of those no-bake chocolate peanut butter oatmeal cookies. That’s what I’m going to serve right now at my pity party. Wish you could come. We could have a regular bawl-fest as we stuffed cookies in like we were stuffing stuffing into a torn toy. Let the healing begin!