Dreams: Kid-tested & Mother-Approved
Things simply are not the way they used to be.
I realize that opening line could be used as evidence that I’m getting older. Hang with me, dear readers, because by the end of this blog, I think you will see that I am definitely still young in spirit. However, the Christmases of days gone by are no longer with me. (Wait a minute – don’t tune out yet. I am not a merchant who is putting up tinseled trees before the turkey is carved. In fact, my favorite part of Christmas now is holding candles with my family while hearing verses and singing hymns.) Yet, like a song from my elementary years, “Video Killed the Radio Star”, technology has intoned the death bell for my most nostalgic pastime of childhood Christmases.
The arrival of the Montgomery Ward Christmas catalog!
Oh, the hours I would dream! Perusing each and every page, often with my little brother at my side, we would wish and hope for all types of gems and treasures. Years ago I wrote about the Bye Lo Baby that I wished and waited for two years to receive. Looking at those glossy pages was something I remember fondly, but other than a few specialty ones, my children live in a world where they don’t know the jubilation of the arrival of the toy catalog.
Still a true kid at heart (and one who desires to be childlike in her faith daily), I have had to resort to dragging my children to toy stores for nefarious reasons – just to see what is new in the toy world. The experience is no catalog dream fest, but it is the closest thing I have found as a substitute. To be honest, we don’t need any toys; so, my trip is rarely about buying anything. No! Those aisles are portals back to innocent days of long ago where I can imagine playing with each item that brings a smile.
So it was on a particularly amazing weekend, I found myself and my curly-headed bundle of energy marching through the aisles of a Toys-R-Us. Just like her mom years ago, the Lego aisle was among our stops. She has found enjoyment with the new Lego Friends sets designed for girls. (As a science and math teacher, I will interject that they are just as awesome as the “boy” Legos, and I love how one set has a tiny blackboard emblazoned with a geometry problem. Yay!)
Looking to see what new sets were available for her visions of sugar plums, my eyes fell upon the new Heartlake High. What happened next probably stunned all shoppers in the vicinity as well as perhaps scarred my mini-me for life. Yep – right there in the store – I let out a yelp of exhilaration!
These Lego sets are built on the fundamental idea that girls are relational and as more sets are created, more characters to Heartlake City are added to the story. That’s my girl’s favorite part – checking to see if she has that character yet. Well, if you are going to build a high school, you need a teacher, and much to my delight, there she was – the high school teacher, Ms. Stevens, who looks an awful lot like me. Now, dancing for joy, I was prancing around singing, “Oh yeah, I am a Lego!” repetitively.
When I flipped the box over and saw that she appears to be a science teacher complete with telescope (I have one of those) and an owl in her classroom (Are you kidding me? For years I had a snowy owl in mine!). Tears flowed down my cheeks. At this point, imagine my husband’s shock, when I brought the box to him (still teary-eyed) saying, “My life is complete! I’m a Lego!” Normally, he is the giant kid in our household; so, I think my effusive gushing caught him off guard.
Hold your horses! Aren’t you married? Well, yes sirs and ma’ams, I am. During my first year of teaching at the junior high/high school level, much to the chagrin of one of my colleagues, the students started calling me, Ms. Stevens. I had several who struggled with speech issues, and Miz Stevens was much easier to pronounce than Missus Stevens. It just stuck. To this day, I am still greeted as Ms. Stevens all over in the community.
For the skeptics still among us, I want you to know about another set of Legos that sits upon my dresser. One Mother’s Day not that long ago, my sweet boy wrote to the company and told them the story about his brother, Reed. He asked if they would create a Reed figure for his mom for Mother’s Day, because she LOVES Legos. They contacted him and said that they don’t normally fill those types of requests, but asked nonetheless for a picture of him and his brother. A few weeks, later, these two boys arrived in the mail. One of the Best Mother’s Day’s presents ever.
Christmas has definitely changed, and I am going to have to accept that. At least dreaming remains the same – for kiddos and for mommas. Even though my catalog days have come and gone, I know one momma (I mean, sweet little girl) who will be dreaming of getting a Ms. Stevens for Christmas this year!