Today I walked out the front door of the house with my lunchbox in hand. My daughter had skipped out before me. She spied a friend of hers and her mother walking up the street. When she can, she dumps me and the car ride to school in favour of a leisurely walk, and today’s no different.
“Mommy, can I…”
“Sure,” I say before she can finish. “But ask if it’s okay first.”
It is. As I’m walking toward my car to go to work, the other mother notices my lunchbox.
“Oh, you forgot to give her her lunch,” she says.
Nope. This wonderful red, Toy Story lunch box featuring Cowgirl Jesse is mine. Not that that’s the way it was when we bought it. No, when we bought it Jesse was a beloved character my daughter couldn’t get enough of – she already had the doll (it really talks when you pull the string in her back!), but that wasn’t enough. As soon as she saw the lunchbox, she had to have it. And so, we bought it.
This was a few years ago, when the third movie in the Toy Story franchise first came out. “Yahoo,” she run around the house, screaming, emulating Jesse’s cheeriness. No shrinking violet or pouty Barbie for her. She liked the full-of-life, adventuresome Jesse.
And so did I.
The next year, though, she wasn’t interested in Jesse anymore. Just like in the movie, my daughter moved on. She picked out a more grown-up lunch box for this year. One that wasn’t immediately identifiable as a kid’s.
The Jesse lunchbox hung on a hook in the kitchen, sadly waiting for someone to fill her up and take her with them. My daughter wouldn’t, so I did.
My daughter was delighted. “We’ve changed places, Mommy,” she laughed. (Just like another movie, Freaky Friday, I thought.)
Then she asked, understanding that maybe an adult shouldn’t be carrying a Toy Story lunchbox: “Did you get any comments from people at work?”
“A few snickers,” I said. “But not in a bad way?” she asked, hopefully. “No,” I said, “more of a giggle.”
In so many ways, pride goes out the window when you’re a parent.