Toy stores were once magical places to me. Everything was bigger, brighter, and the best it could possibly be. There were trucks that could turn into robots, dinosaurs that roared with electronic voice boxes, and stuffed animals that you could cuddle, just not around my friends. And then there came a time in my life when toy stores were sad. The fluorescent bulbs were too harsh and bright. The shelves had chips in their paint. The store clerks were all bored or weird. And everything was just smaller now.
But that all changed when I found out that I was going to be an uncle. That little big discovery brought back that missing spark back into toy stores again. It made me feel like a kid again as I roamed the aisles for toys for my niece. I thought about what she might do and how she might like each and every toy in there, even though it might be years before she could even play with some of these toys.
I wandered down to the stuffed animal aisle, the aisle that peer pressure had once for