Don’t ask me why but the other night my teenage boys wanted to watch “Toy Story 3”. I was thrilled. Good, clean-cut, G-rated fun family movie night. Hadn’t had one of them in a long time. The movie was great. Funny, intelligent, poignant and emotionally stirring. Andy, the main character who owns the toys, is going off to college. My kids pointed out to me that when the first Toy Story movie came out they were about as young as Andy and now, sure einough, my oldest is roughly Andy’s age and looking at colleges. My boys’ lives here at home were running along parallel tracks as the character up on the screen.
Naturally, my first iimpulse was to cry. Just break down and let loose right there in the TV room. But I managed (barely) to keep it together. My boys, however, were noticeably moved. I could see them struggling with the movie’s theme — Andy being too old for his toys and neglecting them and ultimately discarding them. After the movie we talked about it. They each asked me where some of their favorite childhood toys were. We went down to the basement and looked for them. As we uncovered some of those toys we were moved by feelings of longing and nostalgia. And after just having watched the movie where all these toys have voices and personalities, we just couldn’t look at our toys the same way anymore.
Each of my boys took a handful of toys out of the basement and up to their room. They displayed them proudly as they would a trophy. That night I had trouble falling asleep. Long after my boys fwent to bed, I got up and walked through their rooms. I took a good long look at the toys they each displayed. A wave of memories washed over me. I could see the five and six year-olds in each of my now teenage boys sitting on the living room floor playing with their toys. And it was then that I lost it. The good cry I had managed to put off during that animated children’s movie finally came out. Like the floodgates ripping open, I let it all it out and only after I was all done, when there were no more tears left to cry, I fell into a deep slumber.
Ofer Aronskind is the author of adventure books for teens