Saturday, July 24, 2010

Magical Moment 170, "Taylor"

Yesterday, I discovered that Michaels Arts and Crafts is one of the coolest stores ever. We stopped by so Eddie could pick up some paint supplies and wound up shopping for hours. I walked up and down each aisle grabbing at random items thinking, I should learn to knit or Ethan would love that train puzzle! I made a mental list of to-do projects, including but not limited to: make my own jewelry, learn basic wood-working skills, and hand-craft my own decorative holiday wreathes. To make matters worse, they were having a major clearance sale and I decided to go ahead and start my Christmas shopping.

As I made my way through the store, working my way from hand-carrying a few items, to using a store basket, to exchanging that for a cart, I thought about the things that can spark a child’s creativity (and a grown adult’s too apparently). I felt something under my foot as I took a step forward and realized it was a stray children’s book. When I bent down to pick it up and put it back in its place, I realized there was something very familiar about the bright red cover. I couldn’t place my finger on it, but something about the illustrated, brown bear and his green overalls…a missing a button I think…? It was Corduroy, the bear who lives in a department store! Now I remembered the beloved childhood book. Still straining my murky memory for the details, I read the whole story right in the middle of the shopping aisle, page by page, until I reached the end. Yes of course, he gets bought by little girl, Lisa, and they become best friends!

I smiled to myself as I placed it back on the shelf and naturally thought about my own childhood best friend bear, Taylor. My dad gave matching bears to my older sister and I when he returned from a 2-week training exercise in the National Guard. The bears wore Army camouflage, complete with boots and dog tags. Taylor and I were inseparable. I refused to go to sleep until I had him with me and Lord help my parents if he was ever misplaced for a night. Using child logic, I put Taylor and some of my other beloved animals in a pillowcase on my bed, so that if there ever was a fire in our house, I could grab them easily and carry them to safety – an idea that I passed on to my 3-year old nephew, Ethan. He too can’t leave the house without the comfort of his treasured friends, and rather than driving his mother crazy with a constant armload of stuffed animals, I showed him how to carry all of them in one simple, easy to hold pillowcase.

I still have Taylor to this day. Of course, now the stuffing is protruding through the hole in his ears, his boots are long gone, and a wooden shelf is a more suitable home for him than a pillow case by my bed. But he is still in my room, practically loved to pieces, and among my most treasured possessions. I think everyone has at least one childhood toy like that – more than a toy, but a real, true friend. And it helps shape their personality, individuality, and certainly sparks creativity for the rest of their life.

Ethan stuffing his many animals and blankets into his new pillowcase 
before we go for a walk