For the first time in eighteen years, I won’t need to shop at the toy mega-mart. No more circling the parking lot to find a parking place, standing in line to enter, searching the tall aisles piled high with plastic and plush and boxes for this year’s must-have toys. No more tripping over children at end caps or avoiding baskets pushed by harried mothers containing screaming and exhausted toddlers. No more agonizing over empty shelves right where the Zhu-zhu Pets or Dancing Elmos should be. No more extra things thrown into the basket in the hope that my girls will like it as much as I did when I was little, or because I wish I could have had it back then. No more long lines to check out or wallet-busting register totals.
This year, it’s more about online shopping, bookstores, clothing shops, electronics stores, and even kitchen supply places. It has been trending that way for the last several years, but it was only this afternoon that the reality hit me as I drove past a bustling toy store parking lot – there are not any toys on the wish lists. My initial reaction was immense relief to be avoiding the whole scene; a brief “nya nya nya” happy dance. Then it hit me.
There were no more toys on the wish lists.
No more naked Barbies. The first thing my girls always did with a new Barbie was to divest it of clothes, and it would stay that way until it made it’s way into the drawer with the other unclad Barbies and bits of Barbie paraphanalia. No more 1000 piece Lego sets joyously strewn around the family room floor, minor feats of architecture vying with giant cats that gingerly stepped through them. No more Harry Potter action figures, or Breyer horses, or baby dolls and cradles and blankets. No more toy stoves or tables, sorting and memory games, or wooden puzzles with knobs on each piece. In short, nothing more for me to play with.
Yes, we have electronic games and board games in the house. And my youngest still enjoys making crafty things, which I can help with occasionally. But no more excuses to sit on the floor and be a kid again. No more watching Mary Poppins and Beauty and the Beast, for that matter. No more reading Carl books, or Arthur, or Madeline, or Amelia Bedelia.
So maybe my little happy dance was short-lived. Still, the first person that mentions the word “grandma” will get a pop in the arm.