When I was a kid, I didn’t understand why Michael Jackson bought so many toys and super soakers. I didn’t get the childishness and the yearning for younger days; I wanted to grow up and do the traditional Motherhood thing I was always pretending with my baby dolls.
I get it now.
Now that I know the scope of my tragedy, I totally get it.
Lately, I find myself unable to sleep at night. My mind just won’t turn off, tumbling over and over the same fragment of a song, or searching to find the tactile part of a memory of my little sister playing with my hair as we tried to fall asleep during a long, dark night in North Carolina. I’ll toss and turn until finally I grab my phone and start looking up old toys from my childhood: a dollhouse here, a set of pretend play plastic there; recently, I purchased a book, a Beanie Baby, and an old movie I remember watching in 2013.
This new part of me, this yawning ache for the untainted familiar, wants to buy every piece I see — every pre-owned bit of doll furniture, each little 12 inch mommy and daddy duo. The rational side of me knows all this is a side effect of my yearning for normalcy, comfort; a past that doesn’t suck the life out of me in the present. Sadly, nostalgia costs so much, both in money and emotional bandwidth.
I don’t know how much indulgence of this wounded child part of me is okay. Maybe she should listen to me and just remember fondly whatever good things she can; maybe we don’t have to hold that expensive unopened doll house in our small, grown up person hands. But that little girl in me seems unable to stop crying for very long, no matter what I do, so maybe a trinket or two might help (as a treat).
I’ve tried to save as many toys as I could, always remembering how my parents would lament not keeping some of their own favorites around for the kids they assumed they’d have. But there are so many that have fallen through the cracks of even my memory, making it difficult to look up and find some of the most precious ones. I’ll forever miss my Judah lion; I’ll never forget how he protected me. Don’t think I’ll ever find the tiny ponies with combs for their long tails.
What I can find is a lot more expensive now than it was on the Toys R Us shelves when I was little and wanted to spend every dollar and quarter in my piggy bank. The bank I have now, I want to keep well stocked in my monies, an illness from which we all suffer since humanity decided to take the path toward civilization and currency.
I haven’t slept yet. Can’t. It’s too hard to shut my brain off, so I have to let it run until it crashes, out of juice. And there are a few Fisher Price items in my eBay watchlist that I may or may not absolutely need back in my life. Just to remember the spaces in between the suffering, those afternoons with my little sister — my best friend, my biggest enemy, the only other human on this awful planet that knows exactly what we went through — playing with our toy cars, or our big dollhouses on the living room floor, together; weaving stories and making sound effects for every aspect of our 12 inch people’s lives.
We called it Marriage Problems. Amazing.