The weather was rather blustery, numerous cars were in the ditch, and the snow had just begun. We ate our dinner. Were members of the “Clean Plate Club” and rewarded ourselves with miniature vanilla cupcakes topped with sugary whipped frosting and pastel-palette inspired sprinkles. After some imaginary play-time where jewel thieves kept stealing our precious rubies and diamonds, making us late for the Queen’s parties, we settled in for the evening with a big bowl of microwave popcorn for the not-yet-selected feature presentation.
I grabbed the remote and flipped on the TV, crossed my fingers that I’d paid attention to the various buttons to push when and where, and clicked through the kid movie selection. I tried not to think about the fact that I had no idea how to work the crazy, I mean, crazy TV’s DVR (the remote scares me) and was thus forced to page over two college hockey games (Gophers V. Mankato and the Bemidji V. Nebraska-Omaha) without any hope of watching them. Reading titles aloud, I called out familiar and unfamiliar cartoons, book-to-movie, and book-to-TV movies. Nearing the bottom of the options, I read, “Toy Story 1, 2, or 3.” Without hesitation, I was told, “Toy Story 3!”
I bought the movie, thankful we were not watching Yo Gabba Gabba! or some other ridiculously awkward show, and sat back as Woody and the gang popped up on the screen. Toy Story 1 and Toy Story 2 which are ingrained in my movie memories, were good, so I figured the classic, adorable tales of toys and their owner, Andy Davis’ third installment would be equally as good.
And Toy Story 3 did not let me down. I repeat, did not let me down. I laughed. Out loud. Multiple times. I laughed along with my pre-K buddy. I shook my head at the satire and adult-geared humor. I cheered on Woody and the toys as they maneuvered new and dangerous lands. And, unlike Toy Story 1 and Toy Story 2, I cried. Not full-fledged sobs, but salt-water filled eyes and tiny little sniffles. Because unlike Toy Story 1 and Toy Story 2, Toy Story 3 hit home. Closer to home than the first two films. Closer to home because Andy’s character grows up and says goodbye to his childhood and his toys. And I can relate. Because I think, on some level, I’m still in that stage. The stage of saying goodbye to the things and people that shaped my childhood. Saying goodbye to the innocence and awe-filled wonder one only experiences in youth. The carefree days and worry-less nights of Barbie dolls and make-believe. Of donning costumes, assuming persona’s, and caring not what anyone else thought.
As I sat with popcorn spilled in my lap, a child snuggled up next to my lap, I felt all of the Andy-like feelings. I wanted to apologize to all of my childhood toys. I wanted to tell them I never really outgrew them. I wanted to play with all of my childhood toys. I wanted to stop the sands of time and get lost in the land of Polly Pockets and “accessorizing.” And just like Andy, I can’t. I can’t because I crossed the line between childhood and adulthood a long time ago. I boxed up and threw out my playmates and battery-filled Christmas gifts of old.
The movie ends on a happy note, true to Disney’s form. And I realized that though I’ve said goodbye to my toys and treasures, I still hold their memory in a special toy-land place in my heart. I still remember what they meant to me all those years ago. How they accompanied me on trips to the backyard and beyond. The way they comforted me through bad dreams and daydreams.
And I’m a better person because of them. Because of plastic and polyester, fur and feathers, wood and wonder. Because of childhood and a toy-box full of characters.
* Random tid-bit: It’s been 15 years since Toy Story 1. 15! 1995. Yikes. I was only 10.
I ask. You answer.
- Favorite childhood toy?
- Are you a Toy Story fan? Who is your favorite character? What is your favorite Toy Story in the trilogy?
- Do you still have any or all of your childhood toys?