I’m a grown-up. I have bills, a car, a job, and I pay taxes. I can rent a car, drink legally, and I get flyers in the mail from AARP occasionally (too soon!). Definitely a grown-up. But I also cannot deny this:
I’ll say right off the bat that only some of them are mine. About two-thirds of them. But it doesn’t matter where they originated, because I’d never get rid of any of the members of our Stuffed Animal Collective now. I look at that shelf in the closet and think, yep, you guys are going to be with us to the end. Don’t worry. If I have a home, you have a home.
I’m not generally sentimental. I don’t tend towards the gushy. But you can only watch Toy Story so many times (or Toy Story 2, or Toy Story 3) before you absorb the idea that toys have lives of their own. Granted, I was a particularly susceptible subject for this philosophy. I used to make up entire soap-opera-worthy stories about the lives and times of my crayons, and I had the 64-pack and the caddy and everything. It was like Falcon Crest meets Crayola in there. Burnt Sienna was such a tramp.
But I can tell you exactly when my problem solidified, and when I knew I’d never be able to get rid of another stuffed animal again. It was when I saw that scene in Toy Story 2 with Jessie the Cowgirl — you know the one, with the sad (is there any other kind?) Sarah McLachlan song, showing some heartless wench ditching her formerly beloved toy in exchange for nail polish and a pretty pink phone. Jessie basically gets put out with the trash. It’s gut-wrenching.
So, that’s all there is to it. I can’t do that to a toy, even if it is just an inanimate object (well, most of the time). They’ll be with me til I die. Now, it goes without saying that new stuffed animal purchases are strictly verboten, except in exceptional circumstances. After all, FredCo can only support so many dependents. But on the Pixar fade to black in our house, these guys have nothing to worry about.