Motherhood, Marriage and Other Wild Rides

Health, Happiness and the Pursuit of Mommyhood

Toy Story 3, the end of preschool and holding on and letting go June 24, 2010

Laden with teachers’ gifts and a sense of anticipation for what the summer might offer, my little boys joyfully ran to their preschool classrooms for their final day before summer break.

Much like the first day I left them at preschool, I cried the whole drive home. I’ve planned a rather complex web of summer activities for us, so they have much to look forward to. My sadness comes from how quickly it is all passing by.

In September, my oldest will enter kindergarten. I can’t help but recall the countless hours I spent researching and visiting preschools, understanding what a significant impact his first five years will have on the rest of his life, his approach to education, his ability to socialize, his future success…

I know it seems cliche, but it really does seem like such a short time ago that I gave birth to my oldest son Joseph, and now his younger brother is three and leaving little bits of his baby life behind him every day as he leaps toward little boyhood. In fact, I’m beginning to cry again as I write this. My babies are growing up!

Last night, we went to see Toy Story 3, and if you are going through anything similar with your children, it might be tough to watch. I remember the first time I saw the original Toy Story movie. It was 1995, and I was 24 years old. I was babysitting the niece and nephew of my boyfriend at the time, and we watched it on VHS. I sat there for the length of show with my jaw hanging. I couldn’t believe how much children’s movies had changed since I was a kid! I loved it.

At the beginning of my career, I was old enough (more or less) to be Andy’s mother, but at the same time, I could perceive the story with warm memories of being a child. Seeing Andy last night as a 17-year-old boy preparing to leave for college was an emotional blow I had not in any way expected. Enough time had elapsed for that character to grow up, and I had gotten older along with him. Yes, I’m aware it’s just a movie with a fictional character, thank you.

However, with my youngest perched in my lap, and my oldest at my side I was suddenly aware that my first experience of Toy Story hadn’t seemed so far in the distance, yet when the exact amount of time elapses again, my children will be 17 and 20 years old!

TS3 is about change: the agony of watching the toys long for the carefree joy of children’s imaginative play (with the understanding that their playmate would and should continue to his next milestone) and the support of Andy’s mother who is proud of her son’s succession toward college, while also wishing she “could be with him all the time.”

Don’t we all want that? To hold our children in our arms forever, while at the same time teaching them independence, encouraging them to make  and achieve personal goals, to be courageous, forgiving, and to grow in maturity?

As the poet Kahlil Gibran said about raising children, “For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday. You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.”

With the summer ahead, I intend to savor each precious day. Before long I’ll be helping them pack for college.

On a side note, I do agree with Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald; this movie was more for adults than children. My husband and I were in disbelief about how it could ever have received a G rating. There is a prolonged near-death scene with the threat of violent, hopeless demise, the toys are imprisoned and in some cases tortured. Yes, I remember Sid Philips tortured and imprisoned toys in TS2, but among the toys themselves (who have always been peers) there was a cruelty and meanness we haven’t seen before in the TS trilogy. Lotso’s turn toward the dark side as a result of a singular incident was so complete and utterly terrifying when you consider that he is a child’s plaything. In the other movies, tough times happened and the toys always found a way to learn from it and grow from the experience.  From our perspective, Toys Story 3 should be rated PG.

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10 Responses to “Toy Story 3, the end of preschool and holding on and letting go”

  1. I, too, remember when TS1 came out. My oldest son was born that year. I have yet to see TS3, but I can just imagine the waterworks that will be going on in that theater.
    Enjoy those little boogers now. They don’t want to sit in your lap forever. 😥

  2. zico01 Says:

    My daughter starts pre-school, in sept. …. Me and my wife feel the same… make the most of the summer… 3 1/2 is too young for schooling !!
    Nice blog, Greetings from the UK!
    All the best Gareth

    • rjlacko Says:

      THanks, Gareth! It was definitely a tough decision to place my little one in preschool. He goes 3 mornings a week, and has definitely grown tremendously in that time. He loves to discover the world, his peers and grows in courage and confidence each time he tries something new. During that time, I work as a freelance writer. Thankfully, my time is flexible and I am able to be there for my children more often than if I worked outside the home. We will certainly make the most of summer–as we do every day! Blessings to your family.

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  4. SquidooFreak Says:

    I’m a great fan of the Toys Story Movies myself – and I can’t believe how long it has been since the release of TS1 and TS2. Can’t wait to go and watch Toy Story 3 with my kids either – although I may be going more for myself than for them ;o)

  5. zico01 Says:

    My wife took our daughter to see Toy Story 3 , And TOTALLY agrees with your rating of the film, our daughter was pretty upset in parts, though she now loves the first film on dvd.
    all the best Gareth

    • rjlacko Says:

      Thanks, Gareth. It’s funny you mention it–TS1 is now our house favorite too, and our old Buzz and Woody dolls have been dug out from the underbelly of our playroom. How old is your daughter?

      • zico01 Says:

        just 3 , we should have read more reviews before we took her, but we saw TS2 on the weekend, and she enjoyed it, so we thought it would be ok, silly us! New Tinkerbell movie out in 2 weeks, looks abit more like her level !!
        All the best gareth

      • rjlacko Says:

        With a G rating and a fabulous track record, it would seem unnecessary to have to check reviews… I guess we’ve both learned our lesson! One thing I’m very surprised about is how often my children let what I think is intense just roll off their backs. When we saw How to Train Your Dragon, I got up 2 or 3 times demanding to pack up and get out, but my husband and sons were very relaxed: “Sit down, mom, it’s OK,” they told me. I thought the action and dialogue were over-the-top frightening for small children. It’s curious that TS3 was considered scary and the threat of death by dragon (and a PG rating) was not.
        Can’t wait to check out Tinkerbell! My 5-yr-old will be performing in a play about Tinkerbell in a few weeks, so the timing is superb! I’m sure your daughter will be so much happier spending a few magical hours taking in the fairy world. All the best to you as well.


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