Leaving it all behind

My brother Onk emailed me that one of dad’s employees is collecting used toys to take to an orphanage over the weekend.  Apparently, he’s been doing this for many years.  Onk asked if he could pick “the ugly ones” of my stuffed animals to give away.

Have I mentioned to you guys that I have a massive collection of stuffed animals back in Thailand?  As in, when we renovated my room when I was 13, dad had built-in wall-to-wall 3-level shelves for my “friends”.  And yes, the shelves were stacked, some double layers, with stuffed toys.

I mean, as far as I know, growing up, I had more stuffed animals than anybody in my class, and possibly, more than anyone I knew.

My mom and I had talked about donating the stuffed animals for years. When I left home 15 years ago, mom had all of them wrapped up in clear plastic bags and cellophane to keep out the dust. I would come home to stay in my room, surrounded by my old friends.  Even when “my” room became mom’s walk-in closet in recent years, I would still go in to my room to at least say hi to the toys.

I mean, how can I not say hi to my old friends?  They have witnessed me growing up.  They were my confidants, my co-stars and captive audience, my guests at tea parties, my rescues and hapless victims need rescuing.  Among them was where my imagination grew and where I learned to keep my inner adult in check.  But I digress.

I have asked my mom to donate the majority of the stuffed animals, keeping only the sentimental ones many times. Same goes with my clothes I left behind. But she always said, not yet, not yet. My dad said deep down the stuffed toys and my clothes in the closet reminded her of me, and that was why she kept them.

Those stuffed toys gave me so much happiness growing up. Now that mom is gone, it is as good a time to share my joy with the less fortunate children just as I have meant to do all these years.

I gave Onk a list of the ones with sentimental values that I can recall off the top of my head. I told him if he actually sends me the picture of the shelf, I can tell him exactly who to be given away.  But in our case, I will have to have faith that my brother knows who gets to go to a new home.

And yes, I realize I called them “who”, not “which”. Hey, they were my childhood imaginary buddies. They will always be somebody to me.  In my mind, all the toys are just like in Toy Story.  They are alive when you’re not looking.  But I digress again.

It’s just strange not getting to personally say goodbye to some of them though.  I hope they would forgive me and learn to love their new friends as much as they have loved me all these years.


  1. Amy   •  

    OH man I was the same way with the stuffed animals growing up. I even carted them around in LA for years in boxes I kept in storage. LOL!

    When I moved into my last place there my mom and Jodi had a heart to heart with me and I narrowed it down to like my favorite 15 or so and donated the rest.

    I always said, “they have names! how do you get rid of someone/thing with a a name?”

  2. Olaina   •  

    Mine are still in the family garage, I think. In a big plastic bag (maybe 2) so that they don’t get dusty. I felt guilty suffocating them like that, but I also didn’t want them to get dirty.

    What’s a girl to do?

    Come to think of it, maybe this is why I didn’t like making my bed when I was a kid. They all lived on there when I went to school, so every night I had to “put them to bed” on the floor…

    I still have one from grade 2 or so and one from high school right here in my apartment. There’s some new additions too–Justin gave me a Teddy Bear one year for Christmas (after much shopping, given my clearly dropped hints, he found Hope Bear) and I gave him a turtle because I saw it and thought it was cute and he likes turtles.

    It’s a bit much and just enough.

    Last weekend, when we were at my parents’ house one of my favorites–a polar bear from my Aunty Mae, I think–came tumbling out of the closet. Don’t know how he got there, but he’s resting on the “guest bed” now in Neil’s room (still has the Columbia Shuttle wallpaper on the wall).

    We don’t really have to grow up.

    But since the original plan of my youth (passing them on to my own kids, as if they wouldn’t want or get plenty of their own) is not going to happen, it’s probably time to pass on all those hugs of joy and tears to someone who needs them right now…

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