Back in the early 90's when the first Toy Story came out, my mom thought it would be fun and a bit silly to buy my dad the Buzz and Woody dolls that came out because he loved the show so much.
My dad, being the guy he is, refused to take them out of the box claiming that one day they will be worth something. Years go by... and Buzz and Woody sit in their boxes tucked in the back of my dad's closet. Once in a while when I was in there looking for something, I would see them in there gathering dust, looking like a cross between Prospector Pete (still in the box) and little, dusty Squeakers on the shelf. I would find myself thinking, "What a shame... Buzz and Woody would never want a life like that..."
Fast forward 12 or so years...
Ever since Sam's eyes opened, he has LOVED Toy Story. This little guy could watch it all day if I let him. Some of his first words were "Buzz" and "Woody" -- except "Buzz Lightyear" did sound more like "Bud Light" for the first little while.
I always thought of my boys a little like Buzz and Woody. Because of Sam's issues, Nephi has taken on many of the oldest child traits too. So I seem to have two leaders, both bossy and want their own ways, have completely different styles and methods, yet at the same time they complement each other and despite all the fighting are the best of friends.
Once when Nephi was still a baby, I took the boys to my parents house and we got there late. Sam was so excited to be at "Papa's" that he wouldn't go to sleep. So I tucked him in on the couch with Toy Story. He was pretty satisfied... but something was nagging me. I remembered those dolls in the closet... I was almost afraid to ask... Hey, I said "almost"! I did ask:
Me: "Dad, do you think Sam could look at your Toy Story dolls? We don't have to take them out of the box... Just let him see them?" I knew very well that Sam would want them out of the box, you know how kids are. But I was going to let my dad decided.
Dad very hisitantly: I don't know... Yeah... I guess that would be alright...
Dad was torn and felt bad for even mentioning it, but my sadness and pity for inanimate objects was sadly more...
Me sensing Dad's worry: Dad! Those toys have been shoved into the back of that closet gathering dust for years! Let a child love them for once.
Dad: Okay, Okay!
Dad went and fished out his prize toys. He carefully took them out of the box.
"You know these are worth a lot of money, now!" He told me.
"Yeah, I know. Really Dad, you don't have to do this. I just thought Sam would love them like they should be loved. Besides, you don't even look at them shoved back there. No one can enjoy them this way. And you probably even forgot they were there!"
My Dad sighed and said, "Well, I guess I would never sell them anyway. And they were meant to be played with, right?"
So Dad carried his dolls into the front room were Sam was sitting on the recliner watching his favorite show.
"Sam! Look what Grandpa has!"
It took Sam only a split second to register what my dad was holding. And you should have seen his face light up!!! He snuggled and loved those dolls.
(When Sam got the dolls)
Buzz and Woody became a permanent fixture in the life of Sam, and then in the life of Nephi. Sure, the dolls are now used, and probably worthless to the world with Woody's pull string missing, and several of Buzz's stickers are pealed off. But they are just the way they would have preferred to live... loved by a child. And completely Priceless.