Today my oldest grandson and I, Ryan ( who is all of 4 years old) went on a little date. We got all gussied up and went to Toys R Us for the “Star Wars Lego Event”. This event, which I received an email invitation to….turned out to be nothing more then standing in a line ( we were maybe 12th.) and receiving, unceremoniously, a free lego building toy ( Star Wars tiny little ship) a poster advertising the new 2015 sets in the Star Wars Series and…and nothing. That was it. Two women, sitting at a table draped with a Toys R Us cloth, handing out legos in baggies. Now, Ryan, the ultimate Star Wars fan and super shopper, was unfazed. We sat down on the floor, dumped the pieces and attempted to build the ship. Now, Im a quilter, I should be able to think in little pieces that make big shapes, but, no, I can’t. We made our own little event, fiddled with it for about 15 minutes and declared it a “mommy” job, put the pieces back in the baggie and moved on the the poster. AH! The poster, advertisement extraordinaire ! All the little star wars figures posed on one side, the new series sets on the other. lots of oohhhing and aaahhing….then we made our way to the legos aisle where this precious child, who I’m pretty sure had been prepped by his parents to not ask for a toy, spent almost an hour examining every set of Legos….when I finally said, “so, which is it gonna be?” his little eyes lit up and he said, “what? Can I get a set?” which resulted in another fifteen minutes or so of deciding — (the Cantina set won) and the triumphant walk to the cashier, armed with the Cantina, a pumpkin bucket, a witches cauldron, 3 spinning m&m toys and a small set of strange little monsters that pull apart and are stored in a pretend soda can. Ryan declared it a “great day” me the “best grammy in the world” and we traveled to McDonalds (Grammy, I havent been to McDonalds in like 10 days!) for lunch. All in all a wonderful afternoon for sure. Full of those unpracticed full face smiles that make this boy so real.
But, I have to say the marketers at Toys R Us deserve a talking to. This email touted a Star Wars event, a Lego build — where the kids would leave with something they built. This grammy thought this sounded awesome, got a little sad when the other grandkids couldnt make it….talked it up to Ryan. Can you say disappointment? There was no one building except my grandson and me, sprawled out on the floor oblivious to the crowd around us. I found myself having to maneuver Ryan away from at least three families that obviously had no idea what a toy store visit meant to a child. Cussing and swearing, threatening kids with “going home’ if they moved in the cart,pushing buttons on their phone calculator, yelling about money. One mom walking up to her husband and 2 kids, complaining, too loudly and with too many inappropriate words that they had wandered away from her. When Ryan and I approached the table , he smiled, said thank you, took the gift in his own hands and told the lady he loved Star Wars. In comparison, the two kids in front of us, threatened with expulsion if they so much as moved in the cart, just sat with dull looks on their faces as mom stretched out her hand, barely looking at the ladies working the table. No thank you came from her lips, no smile, just ” I need two, I have two kids”. Ridiculous. Is a free $5.00 toy so critical that you have to go grab it, even if it gives you or your kids no joy? Is it so hard to make a trip to a toy store fun? Was there really such a hurry that none of these people except Ryan and I and one other mom and her kids could sit down and actually built something? Is it worth pushing and swearing and groaning? I don’t get it. None of those kids in that line could read the paper or the email. None of them would have known of that event if mom or dad hadn’t put them in the car and brought them to the store. And why? Why would you even bring your kid if you didn’t have the time or inclination to have some fun? I just don’t get it.
So, again tonight, I realize how blessed I am, with a wonderful set of grandchildren who make me smile, with kids who recognize that kids deserve a good time, fun and laughter, and make it happen — and who have the good sense to skip the event if its drudgery. May the force forever be with them.