When they were little, it was nothing but Buzz, Buzz and more Buzz in our house. Each boy had their own talking Buzz Lightyear, they were both Buzz for Halloween, and they ran around the house shouting "Not today Zurg" at every inanimate (and animate, like the cat) object they could find.
There were Buzz Lightyear bed sheets.
Buzz Lightyear movies.
Buzz Lightyear books.
Buzz Lightyear went to bed with the boys and woke with them each and every morning when they were little. When their grandmother took them to see Disney on Ice, they came home with real Buzz Lightyear arms that blasted real bad guys. Really.
Everything jumpable was jumped while screaming the phrase "To Infinity and Beyond!"
We ate, drank, read, slept, jumped, ran, shouted and hollered Buzz Lightyear from sun up to sun down. The Buzz obsession lasted for so many years that I was beyond delighted when the day came that the Buzz Lightyears were forgotten under the bunk bead and the wings were shoved into the back of a closet. The blaster arm only went off in the middle of the night when the cat accidentally (or maybe purposefully, you never know with cats - hence, the reason we no longer have one) stepped on it.
Gone was the rough and tumble space invading days of Buzz Lightyear and in it's place was not a quieter activity - remember, they are boys - but simply another fantastic and loud (battery operated Nerf guns people) play thing.
Although I celebrated the rite of passage that the abandonment of Buzz Lightyear brought, I did, from time to time, kind of miss those crazy days of toddler and very young boyhood when my boys would be content to sit on the kitchen floor, with nothing but their matching Lightyear toys and my Tupperware cupboard to keep them company.
Those were the days.
Before girls and football and zip lining through the backyard...
So I was a little surprised when they asked if we could go see Toy Story 3 after school let out for the summer.
I hadn't paid much attention to what others were saying about the movie and maybe I should have because towards the end, it really would have been helpful to know that I should have snuck a case of Kleenex into the dark movie theater.
It was bad enough that "Andy," who owned all the toys (including Buzz Lightyear) for the entirety of my kid's childhood, was heading off to college (I am sure that fact in and of itself is responsible for at least half a dozen of those crazy mutant silver hairs that I spotted in the mirror this morning - and quickly discarded of with my tweezers) but his toys had to endure almost being melted!
I was flanked by my middle-school and junior high-aged children, curious as to why their mother kept sniffling and wiping her eyes with the scratchy paper napkin from the concession stand.
"Are you crying mom?" Wyatt asked.
I was never so grateful to have a nerdy pair of 3D glasses on in my life.
The movie ended, the kids loved it, we reminisced about they days of Buzz for the rest of the night.
While the credits rolled, I sat listening to them tell their younger sister how they used to play Buzz Lightyear. I decided that I could do one of two things. I could be sad, lamenting all the time about their lost innocence and little boyhood. Or, I could be happy, reflecting on the fact that they've grown into 2 really incredibly super kids, each so different than the other but still, super in their own respect.
McRae is my adventure kid, who fears nothing. His drive and determination towards projects constantly keep me on my toes and even though I'd rather not say ten billion times a day "No, you can't use the axe to chop wood when Dad's not home," I'm glad he at least wants to do things like chop wood, build things, make tee pees and forts in the backyard. He can fix anything that anyone brings to him broken. He is smarter than a whip. He can program my cell phone and understands how things work. Most of the time, I can't believe he's mine.
Wyatt is the moral police of the family. He has a strong sense of what is right and what is wrong and there is no black and white with him. He's creative beyond words and can draw anything he wants. He has a natural ability to pluck at the guitar and has had rhythm since day one when he'd dance around in his diaper in the living room. He is kind, caring and sensitive and all of his peers look up to him. He has wanted to be a police officer since before he could talk and I sense that someday, that, or something like it, will be the perfect profession for him. His empathy and kindness impress me every second of every day and like his brother, I can't believe he's mine.
I sat there, after watching Andy go off to college and his old toys embark on another life and I grabbed each boys hand - eager to hold onto just a little slice of their boyhood in these days before having your mom grab your hand in a dark movie theater isn't a weird thing, and I smiled, despite the tears behind my 3D glasses.
For these kids are pretty spectacular. And I'm lucky I get to be their mom.
So during the coming dog days of summer, when I know they'll be at each other's throats, I'll try to remember the days they sat and played with their Buzz Lightyears...
To Infinity, and Beyond!
And even though a small part of me may be wishing they'd have stayed little forever, a bigger part of me is proud of the young men they have become.