Joshua Gizelt (swashbuckler332) wrote,
Joshua Gizelt

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I have no idea what you'll think of me after reading this, but it was floating around in my mind...

In helping Tim move into his new house, I am of course being exposed to many of Sally's toys. I have, happily enough, avoided dealing with any of her stuffed animals to date. Whenever I am in a toy store, I always avoid the stuffed animal aisle because it pushes buttons in me. One of the children's stories that I grew up with, one that always bothered me was The Velveteen Rabbit. I had no idea why somebody would assume that this horrible story is okay for younger children. And I have never subscribed to the idea that children need to be overly protected from the darker aspects of life. The impact of them should be cushioned, of course, but I think that The Velveteen Rabbit hits a child too close to home.

I've always felt that the purpose of a stuffed animal was ultimately a tragic one. They are only the materials they are made from, inanimate objects of course, but they are often the most constant companion a child has. Even when the child is aware of the nature of the toy, it is often infused by the child with as much personality as they would attribute to a living being. A real pet has its own life, its own personality, and lives (hopefully) a very comfortable life. A stuffed animal, on the other hand, is created to service a child's unconditional love. They are also designed to be cute and adorable, and thus to pull heartstrings. They fit into a different category than any other type of toy; they represent nothing but what the child makes of them.

But it is doomed. All children grow older and eventually they outgrow their stuffed animals. Some families save them for the next generation, which I am embarrassed to admit is true of the collection I had as a child. They're not in use at the moment, but I know where they are, a thought that is comforting to me as an adult. I may have outgrown all of them, but I still feel an attachment, one forged before logic and before reason.

I have no idea what Zach thinks of his beloved Lion today. I'm sure that he still has it, but were he to be called out by his friends, at his age (thirteen), he would deny that it has or had any value to him. And given how much it meant to him growing up, I think that's sad.

This was an exceedingly strange entry to write, but I feel oddly relieved that I have.
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