Once one commits to making a move, the dreaded reality of packing soon follows. I decided to get an early start on my packing so that I wouldn’t experience that last minute frenzy that typically comes with moving. It is funny the thoughts that come to mind when we grudgingly put the things we’ve collected along the way into boxes.
Reflection One: The stuffed animal industry is the most brilliant racket EVER!
You’ve been there. You’re at the zoo or a museum or a street fair and you find yourself being stared down by a cute, little furry animal with those button eyes that make you melt. You pick it up and squish it and pet it and make high pitched noises because of the cuteness and next thing you know, you’re at the register buying yet another stuffed animal for your kid because they have to have it. . .because it’s so cute and what better way to remember that you saw a hammerhead shark at the Georgia Aquarium with Grandpa than to buy one.
And how sweet when your kid names it “Sharky” because he names all of his stuffed animals by their actual animal name. . .”Mr. Bear”, “The Other Mr. Bear”, “Orcy”(the killer whale), “Snakey”..the list goes on and on. (We ran into a little snag when we got a second shark, a Great White . . .Sharky was taken, so he named it Whitey. . .problem solved). I shook my head every time I heard him say how much he loved Whitey or that he was going to play with Whitey or how much fun Whitey was. These just aren’t things you expect to hear from your six-year old Black son on a daily basis.
But it was okay because he looked so cute nestled up to Whitey in bed, surrounded by all of his other animal friends. Big ones. Little ones. Famous ones. Well-worn ones. Friends representing all of the adventures he has had in his life or a souvenir from a stop on his father’s Spearhead tour or a hand-me down animal from family and friends.
But, then he turns 13 and suddenly, all of those adorable animals are relegated to the top bunk, never to be hugged or pet again. Just like that. And in a fit of denial, you find yourself making your son hug Mr. Bear and Sharky because they are probably lonely. (Yes, I actually did that and Emmanuel was certain that I was crazy). After having traveled through all of the other stages of grief, you finally get to acceptance and go animal by animal with your son deciding which ones to keep and which ones to give away. It’s heart wrenching.
So, the inventor of the stuffed animal was a GENIUS. . .and the biggest con artist. How cunning to create these adorable, furry, lovable replicas of animals to lure family and friends into spending hundreds of dollars on them without ever letting on that one day, your kid is going to grow up and be like, “meh”.
I did not see it coming.
I’m sure in an effort to appease me, Emmanuel decided to keep about 6 of his stuffed animals to ship in the move. He even took Sharky with him to California. The rest are in bags ready for the Goodwill. I have not mustered the will to drop them off yet. I contemplated throwing them in a box and surprising Emmanuel with them when he joins me next year, but I’m afraid that just might push the boundaries of my crazy with him.
People, if any of you have kids in your lives that are still of the stuffed animal buying age, it’s too late for me, but save yourselves.
And if you can’t resist that adorable limited edition, vintage Pooh Bear that you know is going to be released in conjunction with the upcoming Christopher Robin movie, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
TOMORROW:. . . Reflection Two: Longing for the Days When We Held Music in our Hands