Growing Up Sucks
She’s recently started saying that she doesn’t love Woody anymore. Seems innocuous enough, but let me put some perspective on it. When she was really little, like a year old, she would sit and watch, completely absorbed, any of the Toy Story movies. Woody was her favorite. Then, after seeing Toy Story 2 about 7 million times, she really took to Jessie. But she still loved Woody, the ol’ Woodster.
So nowadays she’s saying “I don’t love Woody. I love Jessie and Buzz.” That’s fine, of course. It’s up to her to decide who and what she loves (we’ve even had to accept and not punish her for saying, “I don’t love Great Gramma!” because we can’t change that), but it makes me sad, and reminds me of the birthday I had over 30 years ago when my brother gave me his Vans shoe box full of Star Wars character action figures.
We had spent years collecting them, playing with them, flaunting our acquisitions in front of each other, and it was a really big deal. We had vehicles, we had habitat things (I don’t know what you call them) like I had the Hoth one with the collapsing ice bridge, and he had the Tatooine one, and it was a huge part of our lives. So one day, on my birthday, not accustomed to getting gifts from him anyway, he just gives me his box full of “Star Wars guys.” It was a really emotional moment for a number of reasons. For one thing, there was a certain sadness apparent in him as he did it, presumably for the same reasons it hit me so hard. It seemed to signify the end of an era, a conclusion to our childhood. Here’s something we’re not going to play together anymore. I think I said something like, “no, you can’t give me all of these!” I think we both cried.
Another aspect was just the sacrifice of him giving me these long-valued items which, until that moment, seemed like cherished objects.
Last and probably least was the fact that, by giving me all he had, suddenly the entire collection, mine and his combined, lost its value. Like any currency, if nobody wants it, it isn’t worth anything.
So whenever I think of Delilah no longer loving Woody, I have to fight back tears for the loss of her childhood (at least early stages of it, driving like a rusty drywall screw into my temple the point that time marches on) as well as this memory of the loss of my own youth. We’re obviously still brothers, but after that point it felt like just not as much.
So now I’m spreading out my sleeping bag in the “let’s have another baby!” camp where Emily has been set up for a while.