I took my son to see Toy Story 3 a couple of weeks ago. As we walked over to the movie theater, we talked about the other movies. The first one came out in 1995, when he was one year old, so he's pretty much grown up with the movies. My mother bought him a VHS of the first movie when he was about 2, and he loved it.
One day, when he was about 3, I had to stop by my friend Mark's house to pick up some material for a web design job he had me working on-- he frequently gave me web and graphic design work around then, which I desperately needed; it was in the dire period of my life when I was trying to finish teaching school while fighting over custody of my son with an ex-girlfriend. The extra money was a godsend.
While Mark and I went over the work he wanted me to do, Adam talked to Mark's housemate Aaron. While they were talking, Adam noticed a Buzz Lightyear figure near Aaron's computer. These were the days when Adam would tell anyone within earshot about his favorite two characters, Buzz Lightyear and Woody the Cowboy. He'd tell them, "Buzz Lightyear says "To infinity and beyond," and that Woody said "Reach for the sky!"
Aaron told Adam he could keep the toy. He still has it.
That year, he wore a Woody costume for Halloween.
My son and I enjoyed Toy Story 3 throughly. The CGI was amazing, and the story very sweet; Andy, the owner of the toys, is getting ready to go off to college. We discover that though he's long stopped playing with the toys, he still keeps them in a trunk in his room. The toys get separated and a wonderful story ensues that tells lessons of friendship, trust, betrayal and renewal.
As we sat there watching the movie, I realized that like Andy, my son is not far from going off to school. I thought about how the movie series has been such a part of my son's childhood and part of our relationship. And I was suddenly glad that the movie theater was dark and that nobody could see the tears welling in my eyes.