There are dozens and dozens of Beanie Babies piled up in the corner of my daughter's bedroom. She tells me to add them to the yard sale I've been putting off for months. One day I will haul all the odd, no longer useful pieces of our lives down to the front lawn.
And now, I see I will add most of the Beanie Babies as well. She kept one or two because, You made up such good stories to go with them, Mom. She never knew the real story of the Beanie Babies until many years later...
Beanie Babies were all the rage in the '90's. They were the hottest thing to collect and everyone was collecting them.
Our neighborhood toy store received a new shipment every few days and people lined up outside the door. No one waited until they were unpacked. The box was placed on the floor like a dog bowl as grown women pawed through it. Once I bumped knees with a woman and looked up to see an NBC News anchor on the floor with the rest of us.
I don't even remember the appeal of these small stuffed creatures, but all the kids wanted them. There were even books explaining which ones would be worth the most money one day.
I was counting on selling the Princess Diana and the 2000 Commemorative one for my daughter's college tuition.
Beanie Babies fizzled out eventually. But not before I had spent a small fortune on them.
That was the year my mother died. When I married my husband seven years earlier she never spoke to me again.
If you marry a black man I will never speak to you again.
She kept her word.
It was strange to learn that I was included in her will. It seemed as though it was an afterthought. As if she hadn't expected to give it. I certainly hadn't expected to receive it.
I set out to spend every penny of that money on my daughter. On things I thought a good grandmother would buy for her beloved granddaughter.
My mother had never acknowledged my daughter's existence. So I did what any mother in need of a good therapist would do. I used the money to buy Beanie Babies. Lots of them. Too many to count.
Because a good grandmother would have bought these things.
I was crazy with grief and anger. It was one thing to disown me but to not acknowledge my child was more than I could bear.
I dealt with the loss, the grief, and especially the anger by purchasing every Beanie Baby that company produced.
My daughter had them all. They were stuffed in bags in her closet. We discovered that the "Princess Diana" and "2000 Commemorative" ones were not going to pay for a Happy Meal at McDonalds let alone college tuition.
Once my daughter even asked why she had so many of them.
Because your mother is crazed with grief and the only sane solution is to collect Beanie Babies. Silly girl.
It was a sad time. I could not wrap my mind around a grandmother who would not be a grandmother. I could not wrap my mind around this beautiful child being rejected by someone who never met her.
I stormed that toy store on a daily basis. I sat on the floor rummaging through the just opened boxes, searching for the newest ones. It became a compulsion of enormous proportions.
I was not just buying Beanie Babies. I was buying love.
Here's love from your grandmother, I would think as the cash register rung up each purchase.
What my daughter didn't have, she didn't miss. I felt it all for her. I cried the tears and screamed in the pillow and bought the damn Beanie Babies.
I wanted her to have it all. The doting grandma, the loving extended family. People who loved her madly besides her dad and me.
In the end, none of it mattered. My daughter grew up knowing that she was loved more than anything in the world by her parents. She didn't need a grandmother when it got right down to it.
I was the one who needed it. I needed my mother to love me and to love my daughter.
I was the one who set out to fill up the holes in my life with Beanie Babies.
And I spent my inheritance trying.