Friday, September 5, 2008

My Legacy... Care Bears

I was a Care Bear fanatic as a child. I'm pretty sure I owned every one every made. Really, they're just glorified stuffed animals, but my parents were willing to shell out the money to ensure I had an entire Care Bear (and Care Bear Cousins) militia in my Foxy Pink (that was really the paint color) bedroom.

My mom used to always tell me she hoped I had a daughter just like me. And not because I was sweet and angelic and she wanted me to breeze through parenthood with a perfect child like she
did. Well, Ava is already quite the sassy-pants, so Mom, check back with me in 14 years and we'll see what kind of 16-year-old she is. Anyway, one thing I have already passed on to her is my love of Care Bears. I had no idea they were even relevant anymore. But, just like lycra leggings, Keds and fluorescent colors, Care Bears have apparently made a comeback. We happened to be surfing channels one Saturday morning. Ava, basking in the fact that I was actually allowing her to watch TV, when we came across the Care Bear cartoon. Before I go on can I just ask, oh Saturday morning cartoons... where have you gone? What happened to the days of you gracing every major network from 4am to lunch time on Saturday mornings? Now, your time is fleeting. You appear for but few hours and then leave... with some show about woodcutting or mortgages filling what used to be the shoes of He-Man, Thundercats or Saved by the Bell.

Anywho... Ava decided she wanted to watch Care Bears and it was love at first sight. It just so happened that the next week we were at Target and they had teeny tiny Care Bears. She carried a pink one and a blue one around the store (they were brother and sister she said), hugging them and explaing the sights and sounds to them just as I do for her and Jax. While there, I remembered that my poor parents have an entire storage unit; a good portion of it filled with my childhood junk. Among the Barbies, Popples, Rainbow Brights and other playthings of the 80's, were oodles and oodles of Care Bears. I promised Ava I would call G-Ma and G-Pa when we got home and ask them to send her some of Mommy's old Care Bears. Boy, was that a Care Bear-filled car ride home. "Mommy, how many Care Bears to you have?," "Are they yours but you're giving them to me?", "Where are they?," "Does G-Pa have to search for them?" Mom and Dad were of course thrilled to have to scale the mountains of stuff in the storage in search of Care Bears. Anything for Ava.

When Dad found them he called Ava right away and told her. The cute little thing went and put her shoes on and said, "G-Pa, I'm coming to your house to get them. I'll be right there." We had to explain to her that Phoenix is a looooong way from Provo and it would be easier for G-Pa to send them in the mail and let the postman bring them to her. After some cajoling (she's stubborn) she finally gave in.

A few days later four of Ava's Care Bears arrived (the others will be sent in waves). However, after all the anticipation she didn't get to play with them until the following day. First of all, they were DISGUSTING! They've been in storage for at least 16 years. That's a whole lot of dust, dirt and bugs building up on their synthetic fur, which, by the way, was no longer soft and fluffy. No, it was rough and grimy. Not so loveable now, are we Care Bears? But after a spin in the wash and a tumble in the dryer they were as good as... well, they were when I put them in storage. Ava was so excited to get to play with them, but then she was a naughty little stinker. We warned her that if she disobeyed and made bad choices the Care Bears would have to go in Time Out (which, for her, is worse than having to sit into TO herself). A few, "NOs" and "I'm not gonna obey" and freak-outs later... the newly free Care Bears found themselves on the business side of the corner until the following day.

I wanted Care Bear Day: Take 2 to be special for Ava, so before she woke up the next morning, I lined them up on the Island of Sodor (her Thomas the Tank Engine mat in the middle of her room) so they greeted her when she woke up. Oh, the excited gasp that came out of her room that morning! She grabbed Hugs-a-lot (her favorite, and new Everywhere Companion), Lion Heart (a Care Bear cousin, which she often shares with Jax and Daddy), Cheer Bear and LotsaHeart (the elephant) and brought them downstairs and immediately wanted to call G-Pa to thank him.

It's amazing to me that something so simple... little stuffed animals with hearts and rainbows and stars on their bellies have carried over from my generation to my little girl's. I guess that's how my mom felt about me and Barbies (although Barbie got much skankier in my generation), or Andy's dad felt about his boys and toy cars. I love that Ava is finding so much joy in toys that once brought me the same joy. Some moms pass on words of wisdom, recipes, talents to their daughters... I pass on Care Bears.

Stay Squishy...

P.S. The pics are of Jax and his first encounter with LionHeart (looks like he's gonna fight him) and Ava with Hugs-a-Lot. Before you ask, no, I did not cut her hair. It's still beautiful and long and curly at the ends. It's just tucked in her shirt.

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