When I was at my parents’ house over the holidays my mother asked me to clean out boxes from my childhood. Apparently as you near 40, your old toys go from being cherished keepsakes to shit that’s taking up space where your parents would like to store their chardonnay.
My hoarding tendencies go way back. I had a wealth of old treasures to mine through.
Allow me to introduce you to previous phases of me. We’ll go in reverse chronological order.
College me. Whoo boy I was working through some stuff. Who am I? How is the media influencing me? Should I do a jello shot or beer bong? Such a complex deep thinker I was, as evidenced by these two college papers I found.
“This one – she’s going places,” is no doubt what my professors said to themselves as they read these.
Then there was high school me. So much memorabilia from my days on the danceline. I still cannot believe I allowed myself to wear a full-body spandex suit while dancing on a folding chair to “Rhythm Nation” in front of the entire student body. My uniforms were custom-made because my torso was so long. So what I’m saying is, I was sexy.
But the item that best captures my middle/high school self is my music collection.
MC Hammer. Guns N Roses. The Time. Whitney. I’m not going to lie – I could listen to any one of those albums now and rock out. If only I could find a cassette player.
But the holy grail of memories came when I opened my box of super duper favorite toys from my early elementary years. It was awesome not only because I was instantly transported back to 1982 – I felt like a giddy kid again – but because my 4-year-old daughter also thought these toys were a-mazing. So it was fun to experience it together.
There was my Smurf collection, which I don’t think I need to explain why it kicks so much ass.
There were my two Cabbage Patch Dolls, which sparked a conversation with my mother in which she revealed that one Christmas, these dolls were sold out everywhere and impossible to find, and she was only able to get one because she drove two hours away to a gas station that was selling them and waited for the truck to pull in carrying the shipment. Mother of the Century!
And then I saw it. Shining like a beacon in the bottom of the box. My Sticker Album. (cue the lights and music, please)
Words cannot do justice to the importance of this collection. I cherished those precious stickers. And is there any doubt why? There were scratch-n-sniffs! Which by the way – still smell 30 years later!!!
Not to mention my SMURF scratch-n-sniffs!! Holla Papa Smurf and your big smelly banana!
But wait – I also had puffy Smurf stickers!
And don’t forget E.T.!
My daughter could clearly sense my excitement. She enjoyed touching the pages, asking questions about each one.
It was a special treat for both of us. That is, until she wanted to take them out and make a craft with them – um, NO WAY child, these are for looking not for sticking.
Then she started telling everyone that I gave it to her, which I gently explained – um, NO WAY child, this is Mommy’s. You can borrow it.
Then she started hugging it just a tad too tightly…
Calling it “mine” just a tad too forcefully…
And then she pulled off a few of the Smurf scratch-n-sniffs, at which point I really had no choice but to rip it out of her mangy little hands, wipe away her cooties, and caress the cover one last time before hiding it back in the box with clear instructions that no one – NO ONE – should touch it again until they are placing it under my wrinkly hands in my casket because it is MINE ALL MINE. Like I said, it was a sweet moment.
Of course in the end, and unbeknownst to her, my daughter got the last laugh when I showed her these old photos of me and said, “Who do you think these pictures are of?”
She studied them closely, and then replied pointing from left to right, “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Uncle Jimmy.”
She will never see another sticker EVER.