About a year ago, I invited my students to bring their favorite movies to watch on the last day of school while I packed up supplies to be moved from our temporary campus to a brand new school. They enjoyed their movies while I stuffed math manipulatives and science kits and paperback books into big yellow plastic crates.
One of my quietest, toughest boys brought his favorite DVD to share. I checked the rating, popped it in, and commenced to packing art supplies. But only for a second or two. The movie was Cars, and from Owen Wilson's first utterance of, "Speed. I am speed," to the outtakes, I was enthralled. Nary a paintbrush was packed that afternoon.
I couldn't wait to share the experience with Al. On my way to pick him up from daycare, I stopped and bought
Al was barely 16 months old at the time, but he loved Cars, too. In fact, he became obsessed with the movie. He would watch "May-mer" (Mater) for hours upon hours unless I coerced him to do other things, like play outside. All summer long, I heard requests and pleas and demands for "Cars!", and I'm frankly surprised that the disk was not completely worn out by July. Even through his "Wiggles" stage (oh, how I don't miss that), Al remained a loyal Cars devotee.
For Christmas, Al received several Cars die-cast characters, and we've added a few more to the collection. Now, though, the obsession is all mine. I have developed an unnatural love for our die-cast Cars characters. I'm on a mission to obtain every single one of them, and I cannot walk through a Target or Toys 'R' Us without checking out their Cars section.
I think part of my love for all things Cars is an attempt to hold on to Al's babyhood. I know that one day, long after he has cast away his toy cars in favor of real cars and whatever else grown boys break their mamas' hearts with, these silly little die-cast cars will be my tangible reminder of a little boy who loved May-mer.