There’s a scene in Toy Story 2 that always makes me sad.
It’s when Jessie recounts the story of how her friend and playmate outgrew her. One minute the little girl is spending every waking moment with Jessie, the next minute the doll is under her bed as she giggles and plays with her friends. She is older now, and she has moved on.
I know its fiction, but it always gets me.
I already see it in Ann Catherine. She deems herself too grown up for some things, as she walks through the house with her earphones on listening to her favorite music.But, Lily Baker? Oh Lord, thank you for Lily Baker.
At any given moment of any given day, I can find Lily Baker in her room with her gazillion miniature princesses and princes sprawled across the room. She talks to them, plays with them, loves them.Her favorite is Belle.
We took the girls to Walt Disney World in April. They were the perfect age. They believe in the magic. By golly, Cinderella actually lives in that giant castle on Main Street. Each night as we walked past, we wondered aloud which bedroom was hers.But the best part? Watching Lily Baker meet Belle for the first time.
It was at dinner at Cinderella’s Castle. I snapped this picture as Lily Baker saw her from afar for the first time and watched her walk towards our table.
I couldn’t even look at Belle for looking at Lily Baker. Her reaction was priceless. It was worth every single penny we had paid to go there.It just so happened that Beauty and the Beast was the featured show at Hollywood Studios so Lily Baker got to see it on stage. I don't think she blinked the entire show.
This past weekend we had another first with Belle: Beauty and the Beast in 3D. She had never seen it on the big screen and she was beyond excited.. She insisted on wearing her Belle dress to the theater. Each time her favorite songs came on, I found myself watching her instead of watching the movie. I was overflowing with happiness. It was completely worth the inflated ticket prices and ridiculously priced popcorn.
That’s when I realized something: these memories are as much for me, as they are for her. When I am old and gray and Lily Baker has children of her own, I will see a Belle doll and immediately think of Lily Baker and her love for this princess. I will hear "Be Our Guest" and hear Lily Baker's voice singing it. I will immediately be transported to a time long ago – a time when Lily Baker called her sister “Ann Caf-rine,” a time when she begged to wear dress-up clothes each time we went to the grocery store, a time where it made complete sense to her that Belle could talk to household objects, like a candlestick and clock. A time that now seems so crazy and rushed, but I have a feeling when I reflect back, I’ll long for that craziness.
Maybe our children’s childhood toys – those they absolutely cherish – are more for us than them. Maybe God is giving us memories as well, a reminder when they are older of how wonderful life was when they actually believed in princesses and fairytales.One day, Belle may find her way under Lily Baker’s bed as she giggles with her friends, painting their nails.
When it does, I’ll still remember her.
I think Lily Baker will, too.