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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Outgrowing our Children's Toys

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.

I don’t know when Lily Baker first came to love Belle. It just seems it’s always been that way. Yellow is her favorite color, because that’s the color of Belle’s party dress. She loves the Beast, Lumiere, Cogsworth, Mrs. Potts, Chip – all of them. She’s seen Beauty and the Beast so many times she could recite it by heart. And as far as heroines go, Belle’s not bad. She’s smart, loves to read, isn’t a damsel in distress and teaches the beast how to love. Not too shabby. My child’s role models could be worse, you know.

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.


Angie said...

So now that I'm completely sobbing....

You will remember those special toys. My girls are 18 and soon to be 23. The 18 year old is a high school senior and the 23 year old graduated college last August and is getting married this June. We have all the characters of Beauty and the Beast (my first born's love) tucked away in a little suit case that she she to take her clothes in when she spent the night with my mom and dad. We have baby dolls, clothes, beds, bottles, pacis, etc... all packed away that my youngest daughter loved and loved and loved. They are special to them, but they are priceless to me. :)

By the way, I love your blog and I love your family. Started with you being on WHNT and then continues through this blog. Your love for God shines brightly through you (it did when you were on WHNT-that is what drew me and my family to you).

Thanks for sharing your special moments with us!

Amy said...

Oh Angie - what a great idea that you kept those things!! It drives my husband crazy because I can't get rid of my children's things. I am just a sentimental sap, I guess :)

Thank you so much for your kind words! You are incredibly sweet. I'm so glad you enjoy my blog!

"Allie Play" said...

Sobbing now...thanks Amy :) Allie loved her My Little Pony collection and Ariel...I hope I can always remember the joy these toys bring to her life.

Nikki said...
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Nikki said...

Have you seen Toy Story 3? I squall like a baby when I watch the end of that!

I still have a few toys from child hood. Orginal Care Bears & Cabbage Patch dolls. I keep them in a chest. Now every time I open it, I wonder if they're thinking like Rex, when he was ecstatic because Andy touched him? "she touched me, she actually touched me!"

I may be 31, but those scenes get me & I don't even have any children of my own.