Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Return of the Ponies

We got Anna her first My Little Pony when she was about 2 1/2. I'd remembered playing with them as a kid and was glad they'd made a resurgence along with Strawberry Shortcake, Care Bears, and other 80's toys (those toy marketers are shrewed, tapping into parents' nostalgia). At first she didn't care much about the ponies but about a year later suddenly she fell for them, and hard. Over the next two years, we had two MLP-themed birthday parties and built up quite a collection (about 30-40, with some ordered through eBay since we'd gotten all of the ones sold in stores). In fact, Anna played with little else, which made birthday and Christmas gifts very easy.

After awhile about maybe six months ago I noticed the ponies weren't coming out as often. Anna had moved on to Barbies and even more often, craft projects of all kinds. While I knew this was just part of life, I couldn't help but feel a little sad. I thought about the Velveteen Rabbit, and Toy Story 2. There was a part in that movie that made both Dan and I cry...when the little girl grows up and her toys get shoved and forgotten under the bed, gathering dust.

On Sunday I asked Anna if she was done playing with ponies, and she said yes, so I packed them in a plastic container but didn't pack them away. The girl is only almost six, after all, and famously fickle, as all six-year-olds can be. Still, I packed up the ponies with a heavy heart, a hundred moments over the past three years passing through my mind -- the ponies adorned with ribbons and jewelry; traveling with us on vacation; outside on the swingset. I could see Anna in her curls and sweet little voice making them talk. I managed not to shed a tear, because I know there will be many more moments like this.

But this morning Anna asked where her ponies were. "Why?" I asked. "Because I want to play with them," she replied. The next thing I knew, in the 10 minutes before school she had taken them all out and put them in a very long straight line near the front door, waiting for her return. Just like the "old" days.

"Bye ponies!" she called as we headed out for school. I smiled inside, glad to have a little more time before my girl barrels toward growing up.

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