One of the boys in this picture (which, to me, feels like it was taken about two months ago rather than two decades ago) moved into his own apartment yesterday. He's about to begin his new life as a high school math teacher and freshman football coach. Cowabunga! How in the world did THAT happen? Just yesterday, he liked to pretend he was a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle--the blue guy, specifically, who was called Leondardo--and now, he's going to teach kids who are way too old to dress up like action heroes. My boy is all growed up. (Sniff.)
When our four oldest were little, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle craze was at its height. There was an animated T.V. show that was on after school, and the toy section of every store was filled with every kind of TMNT toy imaginable--not just the action figures, but vehicles for them to ride in and all kinds of other associated thingamajigs and doodads. And thanks to good old Santa Claus, we managed to amass a fortune in TMNT toys.
But seriously, what red-blooded little American boy could resist four enormous turtles who were crime-fighting heroes with awesome ninja skills, were mentored by a wise old rat, talked like surfer dudes, and ate nothing but pizza? My boys loved them! And the TMNT's were a perfect fit for them, because there were four turtles and that meant each could choose to align himself with a different one. Without a bit of argument about it (and these boys argued daily about things like whose turn it was to ride shotgun in the car), they each chose a favorite turtle, and not one of them ever changed his mind and tried to steal away his brother's favorite. It was kind of eerie how they each assumed the identity of a particular turtle without a moment's hesitation. So son #1 was Donatello (purple), son #2 was Leondardo (blue), son #3 was Raphael (red), and son #4 was Michaelangelo (orange).
When the first TMNT movie came out (that's right, there was more than one--if you can believe that--and the stars were actors in costumes, not CGI-generated creatures), my husband took the boys to see it and used it as a great teaching moment on the importance of FAMILY. "You see how the four turtles always stick together and help each other out? They're like brothers, and brothers always have each other's backs. That's you guys. The four of you need to be like the turtles and always stick together." Not many people could find such gravitas in a silly TMNT movie, but that's my guy for you. (Isn't that sweet? Can you see why I love my husband so much?)
(Sigh.) I love this picture. Even though it reminds me of how much time has gone by since it was taken, it still makes me smile. But here's a word of advice to all you moms out there who still have little ones playing dress-up: I know you hear this ad nauseam, but enjoy every minute; because someday you'll be packing your kids up to move out on their own, and you'll be wondering where the time went.