It's funny how some things never die but take on whole new meanings over the course of a lifetime. I kept the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toys above, circa 1989, all these years and now my own son plays with them. I was about three when I got them, and I recall having a love affair with all things Ninja Turtles. I saw all the movies, watched the cartoon, and played all the video games. One year, I even dressed up as Donatello for Halloween, my favorite turtle.
I remember playing with these toys in my living room and playing the old "Good guys versus bad guys." I moved The turtle van back and forth on the rug and set the figures in it, and I recall the new smell of the cases as I opened them to play with my action figures. I used to hate it when my cousin referred to them as Barbie Dolls.
As I got older, they sat in a downstairs closet in the house I grew up in, collecting dust. But we never got rid of them. It was as if they sat there, for another time and another day. When my parents decided to sell my childhood home, we went through all my old stuff - baseball cards, GI Joes, and the Ninja Turtles. I sold a lot of stuff in the garage sale and on Offer Up, and I had quite a few interested offers for the Turtles. It was tempting to sell them, but I just couldn't pull the trigger. I knew I had a son on the way, and I thought that he may be interested in them just as I was.
Well, a few months ago, he opened up our downstairs closet and found those Ninja Turtles stored in their cases just as they had been in our downstairs closet waiting for the day to be played with again. This is reminiscent of scenes from the Toy Story movies I suppose. When I saw the turtle van, he turned it over and ran his hands quickly over the wheels. They squeaked like an old door, but he didn't seem to mind. He has had fun trying to figure out how to put all the pieces together on it and will walk across the basement clutching the Shredder action figure in his hand.
As I watch him, I smile at these circle of life moments. I see myself in him, but there are subtle differences too. He enjoys the toys in different ways than I did. He seems to have more of an engineer's mind, figuring out how things work and go together, where I had more of an imaginative one. But I wouldn't want him to be just like me anyway. Seeing him play with the toys brings me back to a simpler time, and it allows me to relive my childhood through watching him.
I pulled out a few GI Joe weapons as well, and one of them still made the missile sound that it made when I first got it. I got chills thinking that a piece of my childhood never left me in that original sound. I know it's silly, but it's a comforting feeling when something stays constant after all these years.
It's a blessing knowing that there is still innocence in this world, where the only thing young kids care about is playing with Ninja Turtles vehicles. I'm glad I held on to those toys because I enjoy them now more than ever.