I thought that was my cherubic child pictured on the billboard next to that fine, strapping Marine in dress blues. It took me a while to positively identify my Jeffrey as the little boy looking so graciously at his patriotic friend. I had to pause and wonder, “What the hell is he doing on a “Toys for Tots” billboard? Not that everyone wouldn’t like to see a few more digits on the ol’ pay stub, but Jeff and I are doing well enough. I don’t know that I’d classify us as “needy” per se.
One can only imagine my surprise when this weekend revealed a back room campaign commandeered by my mother-in-law, Sylviarose, to solicit toy donations from other family members to benefit poor Jeffrey. She had apparently taken an innocent conversation we shared and turned it into a bad game of telephone laden with clearly abusive parenting.
A conversation that went something like this:
Me: You know we really don’t have a ton of toys. How much does a (then 9-month-old) child really play with? He’s happiest with a newspaper or his dad’s tools, and I’m happy not to be tripping over a million toxic Chinese plastic toys that he has no interest in.
Sylviarose: JEFFREY HAS NO TOYS!!!!!!!
Poor little man, he looks so well taken care of. It’s such a shame that his Mommy and Daddy don’t love him enough to buy him a set of blocks or just one toy truck to push along the floor. Such a pity.
Aunts, and uncles, and cousins alike apparently are heeding her rallying cry, cleaning out their attics and toy boxes to help make little Jeffrey’s Christmas the lone bright spot in his pitiful first year. Needless to say we’ll be wading waist deep in discarded toxic Chinese plastic hand-me-downs. Jeffrey will use them once, and I’ll be hospitalized with a broken pelvis.
I mean, who could tire of the 700th, screaming yellow plastic treasure that says “moooooooooo” when you press on the picture of a cow? I know I just can’t seem to tear myself away from a faux cell phone that lights up in a seizure-producing fit of color and sings in Elmo’s sweet soothing voice.
Sylviarose, I know you are reading this, so I just wanted to ease your mind. I just went grocery shopping and brought Jeffrey home a dozen new plastic bags to play with.
And you said he doesn’t have any toys.