This afternoon the kids and I went to see "Toy Story III." I knew I was in trouble when I got choked up 5 minutes into the movie.
Maybe it was the fact that the two people sitting beside me, also sat beside me in 1995 as we watched the movie that started it all. Except then they were 3 and 6 and the days of graduation and college were something in the distant future. How was I supposed to know that time would pass so quickly? The sweet, tender ending found me fighting to hold back sobs as I contemplated the fast-approaching day when I step into my own home of empty bedrooms and find remnants of the children they used to be.
When we first talked of going to the theater, my daughter went through the old toy box and found their original Woody and Buzz. Their simple design were no match for the 'new and improved' versions that now line the store shelves in fancy boxes and packaging. And yet, like the characters in Pixar's brilliant movie, these toys were also once well-loved. And then it was only a matter of time before they too, were shelved as the children of yesterday put away their play things and stepped into tomorrow.
I think the things in life that touch us the most are those things that reflect our own feelings and experiences. Whether that is watching a movie, listening to music, or sharing a conversation. Connecting with where we've been and where we're going is sometimes difficult or even hurtful, but it also lets us know there's still hope and love and courage to go on.
Who'd have known that two fictional characters could ignite such profound emotion? Growing up, moving on, looking forward. Those are changing things, and even though that change can be - and usually is - good, it can take some readjusting.
For awhile the cowboy and man from "infinity and beyond" will hang out around the house as we reminisce about those days of long ago. Then once again they'll find their way back to yesterday, living on in the memories of playful days in little hands and voices. I'm sure I'll join them there from time to time; remembering, too, how it used to be, yet looking forward to what's yet to come.