20 July 2010

You've got a friend in me

(Interstitial moment: because I have been bloody busy with stupid things, we went to dinner at the local brew pub. The Angels-Yankees game was on all the bazillion screens hanging around the place, and when Matsui hit his 2-run homer in Yankee stadium, the entire restaurant erupted into cheers. Go go, Godzilla. Of course, right now, Trevor Bell is trying to lose a 10-2 Angels game, 2 outs, bottom of the ninth. That's the Angels...)

The kids, the son in particular, have been wildly lobbying to see Toy Story 3 in the movie theater. We've been busy, so it wasn't until today that I finally had a chance to take them.

The son was only a year old when the original Toy Story came out, so it was probably at least another year before we actually saw it. And he adored it, as we did. And I spent a lot of time at Burger King collecting all the toys from the movie--the only time I've ever actually bought toys at a fast food restaurant. Possibly the most memorable moment of the whole thing had nothing to do with Toy Story itself: we went to a book signing by Buzz Aldrin, who had a Buzz Lightyear toy with him. He waved his Buzz at the son, who was enchanted, and the former astronaut and the son (who was about 3 years old) had an animated conversation about the toy.

The daughter was a couple of years old when the second film came out, and the son still had his Woody, Buzz Lightyear and RC toys. The movie franchise was a family franchise at that point, and much loved.

Eventually, of course, everyone out grew the toys.

And that is what Toy Story 3 is about: growing up. Main character Andy is preparing to leave for college, and of course, chaos and adventure ensues with the toys from his childhood. I'll say nothing more about the story, except that it has some wonderfully funny moments, and it satisfyingly ends the trilogy in a perfect and non-maudlin way.

So why was I in tears (along with every other mother in the audience, literally. I've never heard so much sniffling)? Because this is what we as parents are living, too. We are part of what is out grown, along with the toys and books we search out for them. We are sought out less as trips to the park become less desirable and are replaced by escapades with friends. Like Andy's mother, our roles change daily, weekly, yearly, as we prepare to boot our children from the our children to leave the nest. From the moment our children are born, we become increasingly less necessary to their existence until we marshal them, shepherd them, into their own lives. It's a process that is exhausting, poignant, gratifying, and sometimes quite painful.

But it's also a privilege and a joy.

Did I mention exhausting?

So with my son, who is a high school junior, sitting on one side of me, and my daughter, who is in grade eight, sitting on the other, I sat and sniffled, too.

It seems to go on so long, but really, the time they've been mine has been so very short.

Go listen to some music: "You've Got a Friend in Me" the theme song for the Toy Story movies, written and performed by Randy Newman. And yup, the Angels finally won.

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