Monday, January 11, 2016

Hands off my ponies

I was one of those kids who never let anyone play with my toys.  I used to blame it on my mother because she opted out of sending me to preschool; my excuse was that I never actually learned to share.
Now I know I was just a perfectionist kid—the mean kind who just never shared or played with my dolls because I needed to keep them all in mint condition and perfectly organized.  To me, there was just no other way.
I had a collection of My Little Pony dolls with long, colorful manes and tails.  They each had names and matching brushes for their hair and even some accessory to enhance their pony wardrobe.  I had the best-dressed ponies in town, and the best looking too.  Their hair was always smooth, never matted or frizzy, and they dressed according to whatever activity I was doing.  My ponies even had roller skates.  And man, they were snazzy.
At the end of the day, each pony found it’s perfection returned and was put to bed in the stable, which was really just a way to keep them all separate so that the purple brush didn’t end up with the blue pony. 
My parents, in a variety of moves, have miraculously held on to these precious toys for years.  Being in such good shape, I didn’t know if they wanted to hock them to pay for a trip to Europe or what.  Eventually they made their way to my own house, where they have been stored safely in my basement until my own children were old enough to appreciate the value of good pony hair. 
And then, one evening, I saw my six-year-old daughter carrying a box of them upstairs.  “Look what I found!” she said.  Not only did she have the ponies of my youth, but also my precious Strawberry Shortcake dolls (including every piece to the bakeshop), an old Barbie container, and more. Each set of toys had survived over thirty years and were still pristine condition and impressively organized.
Until my own slimy little kids put their grubby little fingers all over them.
There were ponies wearing fruity hats and one of them only had on two roller skates.  The horse show awards were in with the bakery items.  No one had brushed anyone’s hair and then, to make matters worse, there was a Barbie bed in the horse stable.

It was mass chaos, and the only ones to blame were my own children, my flesh and blood.  At first it was a little hard to watch, such disarray and apathy for the order that the ponies once held, but I’m learning to share, finally, for the joy that is watching my kids play with my beloved toys.  Even if I have to stay up past their bed time to groom and organize.

Originally written/published 9/21/14

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