This is an ad for Hanes "Showtoons" Smurf underwear.
It is not much to look at today, but when I was a kid (maybe four or five years old) I got both of these gifts one one Christmas morning. I was so shocked that I got these underwear that I hid them from everyone and would peek at them just to make sure it was true. Then I held them up in great excitement and shouted in response to my family asking what I had, "SMURF UNDERWEAR!!!!"
It was glorious. But it was only a few moments later that I would break down when I opened this:
This is a picture of a Teddy Ruxpin. Teddy Ruxpin was a bear that was mostly soft but had a hidden cassette tape player in his back with a speaker. Tapes were loaded into his back and then when they played Teddy Ruxpin's eyes and mouth would move while he "read" a book to you. Think the cuteness of Hello Kitty with the wonder of Terminator with dash of creepiness of Chucky and you get Teddy Ruxpin.
Not out of fear but out of pure emotions that I did not have words for at the time and still struggle with today. When I see the video recording of that moment (which I have watched countless times and tried to remember what I was feeling) it is somewhat clear that I had a strong sense of unworthiness to be receiving these two amazing gifts. I have a difficult time watching at a certain point in the video, because many of those original emotions come flooding back into my stomach and I begin to feel uncomfortable with this sort of raw emotion.
To this day there have been few Smurf Underwear/Teddy Ruxpin moments but they are powerful and life shaping. They are the events that I filter all other events in and through. They are the ones that I don't realize they affect me as powerfully as they do until I meditate on it. They are the underscores that play in my head as I live my life. You don't hear them but I do and they are powerful when I listen to them.
I don't know what your Smurf underwear or Teddy Ruxpin moments might be. I don't know if you take the time to explore those moments. I don't know if you are like me and know they exist but they are so raw and powerful that they are difficult to look at for too long or I am overcome. I have come to discover that these moments matter and on the whole we do not know how to listen to one another talk about these important things.
So not only do I invite you to reflect on your life shaping moments but, and perhaps more importantly, ask a loved one about their life shaping moments.