To Infinity, and Beyond!

Originally written in November of 2012.Image

My niece and her equally painful two year old have infiltrated my home.  I used to have a closet under the stairwell…it has once again been converted into a playroom.

Now mind you, 16 years ago, when her mom found out I used to put my kids in there to play when they were little, I was the evil witch from Sleeping Beauty.  Now?

No, now, it sheer genius to have a room that is essentially sound proof and holds enough toys to make FAO Schwarz look like a miser. Now its ok to put poor 2 year old Baby PIRN (Pain in the Rear Nephew) in there.

I won’t mention that all stored items in the “closet” are now in my entryway and my niece just smiles and says, “where are you gonna put all this Nina?”

Like Buzz Lightyear once said, “How dare you open a space man’s helmet on an uncharted planet? My eyeballs could have been sucked from their sockets!”

My niece now says, “You are a sad, strange little woman, and you have my pity.”  But she keeps creeping into every room of MY house…. unapologetic.

So in all of the remodeling and reorganizing a funny thing occurred.  First, my son declared that rather than sort through his old toys and caress them lovingly like he privately states he would like, he is now a “manly man” and he doesn’t need to keep them.

Ok, so Buzz Lightyear can go to Baby PIRN.  Only Buzz is now about 17 years old…and has seen better days.  In fact, he no longer very verbal…he proclaims mostly gibberish…  “One minute you’re defending the whole galaxy, and, suddenly, you find yourself sucking down darjeeling with Marie Antoinette… and her little sister.”  He is physically the same but his verbal skills are lacking.

Fearing he suffered a stroke, we asked him the vital questions….  Buzz is your face droopy?  No.  Raise your arms Buzz!  Ok one is a little lower than the other…. but that’s not unusual for Buzz as he flies to infinity and beyond…  Ok, lastly, Buzz repeat after me, “In just a few hours you’ll be sitting around a campfire with Andy making delicious hot s’mores.”

Buzz: “In just a few hours you’ll be sitting around a campfire with Andy making delicious hot Schmoes.”

My niece says, “Face it Nina, he’s toast.  Time for a new Buzz.”

What?!!  Is that what you’re going to do to me when my batteries run low?!

She recommended Nino (her physician God father) look at him.  I replied, “I don’t believe that man’s ever been to medical school! And there seems to be no sign of intelligent life anywhere else here.”

This is a medical emergency, get the car seat we are going to Staples.  Baby PIRN in tow, we head out.

Once at the brightly lit STAPLES ER we ask the nearest red shirt, “Excuse me, this is urgent.  Do you have replacements for these?”  I hold up two small rusted disks.  Baby PIRN looked up with worried eyes, pleading, “Save him!”

Nurse Ratched sprang into action, “Follow me!”  She took us to the Duracell display.  She turned the batteries over and over.  I …cant…see the ….number….but wait!  Perhaps, just perhaps, by the grace of all that is good, these will work.  All I can tell you is, we have no choice.  Try them.  If they don’t work, we can refund you the money…but Buzz will be dead.

Collective and audible, GASP!

Come Baby PIRN, its our only hope.  We begged the cashier to check us out, STAT!

We quietly stepped to the side and as my niece wiped away the battery rust stains, she managed to figure out which way to face the life source.  As she readied her self to insert the disks she yelled, “CLEAR!!!” and with that they were in.

We held our breath afraid to push the red button.  Be brave I said, its for your son.  Then we heard it….


A cheer was heard throughout the store.

The cashier wiped away a tear.

“He’s alive,” I whispered.

Another generation will live to tell the tale of how a 17 year old toy was saved by the love of a child.

Unfortunately, Woody, who is a little newer, more vocal and for the last day or so, Baby PIRN’s favorite, was tossed aside as soon as Buzz got his voice back.

Sorry Woody, Baby PIRN is not like ANDY, he’s more like SID…But we love him so…..

Thanks for being my friends.


About Caro

I am a social worker by training and a peace officer by profession having worked with California’s delinquent youth and young adults for 28 years. I firmly believe that our development as humans depends on our environment and that sometimes we get stuck. As such, I write about those things we sometimes ignore or fail to see until we are forced to pay attention.
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