December Errands Turn Into Holiday Memories
December. While we need toilet paper, dish soap and mustard, store shelves are overflowing with holiday cheer. My retail experience has been a teary eyed holiday season regarding memories from material gifts from years ago. The retail world is on high octane with sparkly pajama sets, gift boxed Hot Wheels, non scary looking baby dolls, Barbie and her dream world, Lego kits, books and more. I used to buy it all. Now, I get a lump in my throat when I see the the holiday packaged merchandise as my kids are too old for this, they outgrew the this world, but my heart and memory did not.
My kids are sweet, they don’t ask for expensive items, but their interests are expensive (sports gear and arts classes). Toy catalogs and trips to box stores are now non issues in my house regarding the kids. But these are issues for me. The kids don’t long for their childhood toys, but I do. The toys used to shed light into their thoughts and imaginations before screen time. We used to play together.
My biggest holiday gift was always the joy I received in picking out the perfect doll or race car and watching my then little kids open the presents with such happiness and gratitude. Those days are now just memories.
Lightning McQueen, then and now
My oldest son, 15, invited me to watch a movie with him. Cars 3. At age three, the first movie he ever saw was Cars. We watched this movie at least one hundred times. Ka-Chow! [Ka-Chow is Lightning McQueen’s catchphrase in case you missed the Cars experience]. Cars 3 represented a lot to me: present time with my son and a chance to go back in time. I had a lot going on in my head. I tried to explain this phenomena to him, but his 15 year old self responded. I knew to pipe down and enjoy being in the moment. I also knew that I would come back here and reflect this with all of you later.
We were watching Cars 3 just like we watched movies when my 15 year old was three, well that was my perspective. And, when he told me “I love you” it was the same infection in his voice as it was at age three, but now much lower in pitch at age 15.
At one point during the movie, we switched roles. When he was little and something sad happened in a movie, I would remind him that it’s a movie, and I think things will work out. Now, when I gasped at a Car character spinning out of control and hitting a wall (yes this is all animated), I was reminded by my son, “It’s a Disney-Pixar movie, it will be okay.” And, it was followed up with, “I love you.” This growing up stuff is hard on the heart, but all will be okay.
Merchandising to the Kids, and to THIS parent
Recently, we gave away hundreds of Hot Wheels cars, and I pulled out Lightning McQueen from the giveaway, to keep for myself as a memento from my younger years of parenting.
The next morning after watching the movie, I was in Target. I knew it would be hard, but I went down the toys aisle to find a Lightning McQueen car from Cars 3, as a gag gift/or a pull at your heartstrings gift to my son, but probably more as a souvenir for myself. I couldn’t find any movie merchandise, which was probably best. And, I found myself eyeing the Hot Wheels race tracks that we used to set up through the living room. I saw the section of toys that we always ignored, no offense to the action figures and board games.
I like to talk to strangers in the aisles and there was no one. No one for me to share with the great life messages that we watched in Cars 3. The movie was filled with themes of friendship, doing the correct thing, knowing that you can always go home and to be yourself. I left the toys aisle quickly and got our toilet paper, dish soap and mustard.
Life is a Highway
Whenever I hear the song, Life is a Highway the theme song from Cars I think of the journey my family is traveling. This song is one of my songs with my oldest son, we hear it and we give each other a nod and a smile. It’s a special song in our family.
Gifts don’t always come with glitter or with a big bow. My gift came via Netflix and a trip down memory lane. This holiday season shaped up to be a reminder via sparkles, movies, Barbies, Hot Wheels, glitter lip gloss and fancy plastic high heels that time moves on.
To borrow from the lyrics Life is a Highway “Life’s like a road that you travel on/When there’s one day here and the next day gone… I love you now like I loved you then, this is the road….” It’s a blessing to be on this highway, glad I was asked to watch a movie.