Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Passing of the Stuff

When I was very little, perhaps three years old, I opened one of the best birthday presents that I have ever received: a pink stuffed elephant, carebear cousin, sillily named "Lotsa Heart Elephant." To me, she just became Ellie. A few years later I got another present, this time a white stuffed carebear. I was much more creative in choosing a name this time, and called the stuffed bear Bear. I must have been wiser in my older years.

Love at first sight.

Apparently we were all excited about her.

I had a blankie like most children, but nothing compared to these two stuffed toys. I took them everywhere with me, even sneaking them both into the car for every long road trip we took. I cried for hours when our family dog Piper chewed Ellie's heart shaped button nose off. And not being able to bear the thought of them falling out of bed at night, left to sleep cold and lonely on the hard wood floor, I turned a spare pillow into a bed, tucked them into that and hugged the pillow. Unfortunately for myself, that extreme case of guilty conscious has stayed soundly put.

Over the years, as is obviously normal, the toys became less important. There remains a part of me; however, that to this day feels sort of sad when I see them just sitting somewhere, faded and abandoned. It's that same part of me that sat, transfixed and horrified, when Woody and Buzz were headed for the incinerator in Toy Story 3. (Really, that had to be the scariest scene ever in a Disney movie). As much as they're just stuffed bits of fabric and buttons, they're such a large part of my childhood - there through every scared night, every sick day, every night that my sister and I couldn't sleep and sat up for hours, making our stuffed animals talk and do cartwheels - that they feel like a friend from the past, now sitting dejected in a closet.

A couple of weeks ago, I came home to find Ellie and Bear, flung haphazardly, on my parents living room floor. I laughed and picked one of them up, and my sister Dani told me that Sommer had seen them tucked up into a corner of a bedroom closet, and refused to leave the room until they were down. And as silly as it sounds, it makes me so happy to see them back out, being played with and enjoyed by other small hands.

Funnily enough, I now understand my young naming conventions, as Sommer intuitively (in combination with her yet-to-be complete grasp of the English language), knows both Ellie and Bear by name.


There for another generation of tears, sleepless nights and sick days. :)

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