Having a child stirs up all kinds of childhood memories and favorites that have long been forgotten. These memories are still there, somewhere deep within our brains, and all it takes is for one little thing to trigger them to come back. For me, one thing has led to another here lately and I have thoroughly enjoyed these small reminders of way back when. But let me back up... here's how it all started:
Three weeks after Lilly was born, my sisters had a "Welcome Lilly" shower and invited family and friends. While I was opening gifts, I came across one with no tag. "Who is this from?" I asked to which my Aunt Karen responded, "It's from Kim." I must have looked confused because she reiterated, "It's from you, Kim." I still did not understand what was going on, but I opened the bag and upon removing some tissue paper I got the biggest smile on my face. Here is what I pulled out first:
Believe it or not, these were my CareBear toys from my childhood! Many of our toys got passed down to my cousins Hillary and Erin who are a few years younger, but never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that they'd still be around! I kept digging around and felt another familiar object. Before I even pulled it out I exclaimed, "You have got to be kidding me!" It was none other than the CareBear Cloud car, a little yellowed, but still in working condition:
But that wasn't all. At the bottom of the bag was a bigger item, and until I saw it I had forgotten that it even existed. A collector like me would of course have a carrying case to house my bears, right? Hands down this was the best gift of the day... toys that Lilly will someday play with not knowing the true value of where they came from.
For some reason these old beloved bears really stirred up something within me... or maybe it could be attributed to the millions of times we've viewed Toy Story 3 here lately. You see, I was a kid who truly loved my toys. I was the kid who (like Andy in the movie) believed with everything in me that my toys had feelings and interacted when I was not around. Getting rid of a toy was impossibly hard, as I felt like I was saying goodbye to an old friend and even worse, hurting its feelings. I can even remember saying my bedtime prayers and after listing the members of my family for God to bless, I would list all my stuffed animals by name. I could play for hours upon hours by myself and never get bored, even prompting my mom to come flying up the stairs when she'd hear
my Little People character me shouting, "Mommy, Mommy!" due to some Little People emergency. I would argue that there was no need to clean up my room because I "wasn't finished with the story yet." Yes, I was that kid. So when I saw these bears, I had visions of my old room growing up and all of these "forgotten" toys. And then, I found myself on eBay.
OH. MY. GOODNESS. If you ever want a trip down memory lane, eBay is the place to go! Little People were by far my favorite when I was little so I found myself searching "vintage Little People." Go ahead, try it! Before my eyes everything came back all at once! The barn (which we still have), the camping set, the ferris wheel with attached record player, the school bus, even the Sesame Street playhouse was there (and selling for a whopping $495)! Main Street was even there, which was the item that I always wanted and never got! Just by looking through it all I could feel the innocence of those days come back to me, when I didn't have a care in the world and could escape to these fantastic, imaginary places whenever I wanted to. I had no idea that just seeing pictures of it all could do that.
And then I got even crazier. As wonderful as these things from my childhood were, it made me start thinking about the simple pleasures of childhood such as bike riding and Saturday morning cartoons. I thought of my favorite childhood shows and before I knew it, I was Googling "Dumbo's Circus," "Welcome to Pooh's Corner," and "Mickey's Mousekersize." And thanks to the good Americans that held onto their VHS tapes and have too much time on their hands, YouTube provided me with a little glimpse into that part of the past as well. I have to be honest, it's all much hokier than I remember (since it was probably AMAZING technology at the time that made all this happen!) but it was all so familiar and comforting to see. For a moment, I was five years old, sitting in our wood-paneled family room in Louisiana, enjoying some entertainment in my ET pajamas. Yep, the good ol' days. Check some of this stuff out for yourself:
- Dumbo's Circus
- Pooh's Corner
- Sadly I could not find any footage of the old-school Mickey Mousekersize show, but I did enjoy seeing a few familiar faces on the New Mickey Mouse Club... that's fun to look up, too!
Sometimes I watch Jake sit and play with his toys and can't help but smile to myself. He can be all alone in a room and he is completely content pushing his trains along or driving his modern-day Little People cars around. He jibber-jabbers and choo-choo's all the while, and even holds his Buzz and Woody dolls close to his mouth and shares secrets with them. I'm not saying that I had the world's biggest imagination as a child, but I do feel proud to know that he gets a lot of that from me. My heart swells to think that over the next few years he, too, will escape to wondrous places and make new friends in these worlds. He'll create stories with plot twists that only a child can think up, no matter how ridiculous they may be. And over the years as I find what toys are his favorite, I will make sure to pack them in a box and put them in a most special place, ensuring that he'll be just as surprised as I was to rediscover them. I am so thankful to my aunt for holding onto such a precious treasure. She probably just thought that she was passing down an old favorite toy, but she has given me so much more than that. I was reminded that sometimes we need to throw our worries out the window and just look at the world through those innocent eyes again because if we don't, we just might miss something magical.
And in case you're wondering, used CareBear figurines sell for about $5 to $8 a pop on eBay these days. But don't worry, mine will never be for sale!