Dime Store Bear 13-February-2013
I suppose I’m showing my age by calling them ‘Dime Stores’, but when I was a kid, that was the place you went to wander around and look at stuff you probably didn’t need. It probably had other stuff in it too, stuff that grownups needed, but as a kid that stuff was off my radar. Ben Franklin was the dime store in the small town where I grew up.
Walgreens is my modern day neighborhood dime store. It’s on our beaten path so anything we need quickly during our chaotic day, we stop in there to pick up. It’s all decked out for Valentine’s Day right now, as most businesses are. Being a big kid myself, the kids and I do walk through the toys and make note of this or that cool thing if we have a spare minute. This bear was deemed ‘cutest’ of all the other stuffed stuffs in the Valentine’s aisle by my little lady. Note to self…
The Dime Store is a whole different place now that I’m the grownup. There’s a lot I don’t remember about being a kid my first time around, but one thing I do remember was the awesome feeling I got on that rare occasion when Mom was able to buy me something I had been eyeing for a long time. My first Stomper (little motorized 4×4 trucks that ran on AA batteries) came from Ben Franklin. I have no idea how old I was, but I remember how excited I was when I got to take one home. It was something like $4, a major purchase 30-something years ago. The excitement then seemed like it was in that I was the king of the world with my fancy new $4 4×4! In hindsight, I think the real magic was in that it was special. A treat. It made my day that day. It’s a memory, and apparently a permanent and happy one.
I see people celebrating Valentine’s Day in many ways these days. Some with old loves, some with new. Some without romantic loves. (<<<guilty…) Some with school class parties and treats. Some with their own young now celebrating romance for the first time in their adolescence! In recent years, I have celebrated Valentine’s Day very differently than most people, but for the same reason- love. I celebrate the two loves of my life, the two most important and rewarding ones- my kids. Everyone should celebrate their own celebrations however they see fit.
We have a whole mess of fun stuff planned over the next 48 hours, both my little lady and I and my young man and his Mom. Part of being a Dad is showing your kids how to treat, and how to be treated by, loved ones. Yet that’s not at all why I do it. I do it because it’s fun, and I look forward to it probably even more than they do. The secret isn’t in the list of fun stuff, though. It’s in the Dime Store Bear. I thought he was going to deliver flowers to my little lady, and it turns out he delivered the memory above to me. Time travel. A treat inside the heart, if you will.
Dime Store Bear isn’t just a good singer, a witty comedian, a flower delivery bear, and a faithful miniroadtrip companion, he’s also full of public service announcements! Dime Store Bear reminded me that the celebration has nothing to do with where you go, what you buy, how much time you spend celebrating, or how closely your celebration resembles anyone else’s. The best celebration is one in which someone(s) who loves you with all their heart takes notice that you took notice of the things that were important to them. For my little lady, the fun will be in seeing that she realizes I remembered which bear was her favorite. For my young man, the fun will be in getting him that thing he showed me on the Internet while I was in a rush to finish dinner, and he thought I wasn’t paying attention. Neither are expensive or lavish gifts. The celebration for them is in that I remembered, and the celebration for me is in that they will time travel briefly back to that moment when they thought I wasn’t paying attention, then now see that I was. A treat inside the heart, if you will.
Dime Store Bear wants you to do him a favor sometime over Valentine’s Day. Please. He’d like for you to do something for someone who loves you, in a way that lets them know that you know them well. Get her favorite movie on a used $2 DVD, but get her ‘real favorite’ movie that she doesn’t like to admit is her favorite, not the one she claims is her favorite! Buy him that candy bar he eyes in the checkout aisle at the grocery store but doesn’t want to admit he is lusting for! Draw him or her a starving artist’s stick-person-rendition of the day you met… Just do some little thing, anything, that lets a loved one know that you know the little things inside them that make them happy. Because, if they know that you know, and you really do know, then well… you are loved by someone you love. And everybody wins that.
Treats inside the heart are seeds that grow up in future generations. Plant as many as you can today.
Cheers from The ThreeFiveZero Valentines