I already wrote about my beloved bear, Roger, in an earlier post so I won’t drag you through that again (I can hear you saying “YAY”).
I used to have dozens of stuffed animal “friends” during my youth and each night at prayer time I would “God Bless” each and every one of those stuffed animals before falling asleep. Tedious? Sure. But those inanimate objects loved me unconditionally and were completely deserving of my prayers. They were my friends. I’ve made different friends since then – the human kind – and while I do enjoy having two-way conversations, there is something to be said for having friends who cannot talk back. I would never dread the answer to a question because I knew they would always say the “perfect thing”, which allowed me to draw my own conclusion. And, of course, they never had anything negative to say.
We all have to grow up sometime, though.
Here’s something that makes me smirk: Adults who wear Disney clothes on a regular basis. For instance, I used to have a neighbor who had what seemed to be an unending supply of clothes with Tigger and Snow White and Mickey Mouse on them. She would come over at the most inopportune times to gossip about someone while wearing her Disney clothes – venomous comments spewing forth from her lips as I was forced to look at the Seven Dwarves staring at me from her sweatshirt or a bouncing Tigger springing up and down on a jumper. It just didn’t seem right. Now, there are exceptions to my pet-peeve, like anyone consistently working with children or just plain HAPPY people, but if you’re a Negative Nelly, then you should not be allowed to wear clothes that advertise the Happiest Place on Earth. And then there’s my dear friend who just sincerely LOVES Disney. Her son went there for his Make-a-Wish trip and they go back at least two times a year. It brings her happiness to wear her Disney clothes so I cannot begrudge her that simple pleasure. But you won’t catch me in clothes featuring any Disney creatures. I do have a “School House Rock” shirt though. I claim that I wear that solely for educational purposes. Or to sleep in.
Oh, who am I to say anything about simple pleasures? I believe everyone has something they’ve held on to since childhood, whether it be something tangible or behavioral. Like I said, I still have Roger the Bear. Losing him would be crushing. He holds no monetary value and maybe someday I will pass him on to my kiddos but right now, he’s mine. He’s comforting. And then there’s the fact that I am in a constant state of movement before falling asleep. I used to rock myself to sleep as a child and I still do it today. It’s a behavior that I don’t even realize I’m doing – until I hear someone mention that I need to stop moving because I’m disturbing them. It’s not as easy to do when I’m, say, camping or hanging out on the “bed” at Children’s Hospital, but I still give it a shot. It’s comforting. Relaxing. A ripe tomato sandwich on soft white bread with Miracle Whip and lots of pepper provides a very similar comfort.
My kids don’t really have anything like that. My guess is that Ben wouldn’t be able to live without his Nintendo DS games and Madeline wouldn’t be happy without her “pretend” cell phone. But they have no special bond with any of their stuffed animals or other toys. They enjoy their Build-a-Bears and their webkinz, but they don’t cling to them. I’ve saved a blue plastic Fisher Price hammer that Ben seemed to adore when he was a toddler as well as a pair of Mr Potato Head glasses that he used to like to wear. And then Madeline had a doll my mom got her from Williamsburg – Madeline loved to chew on that thing when she was a baby. I’ve saved those items. But again, they’re sentimental to ME. Not them.
Maybe Ben won’t want to remember his childhood? All the pain and suffering he’s experienced – is there really anything that he would want to cling to from these days? “Oh, look, Mom. Here’s the tube they shoved up my nose during one of my scans.” Heartwarming? No. And then poor Madeline “Mom, what was my favorite toy as a child?” And I would scramble to remember because her infant and toddler years have been overshadowed by her brother’s illness. I could say “Oh, Madeline. You used to love to try to pull Ben’s broviac catheter out of his chest.” Crazy. Our lives are just absolutely crazy.
I do have to mention that Madeline was sincerely disappointed when she had her tonsils taken out. She was hoping they would let her keep them. Meanwhile, Ben has a vial of his blood that I let him keep in the refrigerator. Maybe my kids are too demented to cling to the traditional? I’ll take full credit for that trait. I’m the demented parent here.
So, if you don’t have a plush animal that brings you happiness, try to remember what brought you the most happiness when you were a kid. And if you have kids of your own, tell them about what you treasured. And if they have something they treasure, take a picture of them with it. Or go as far as to make a video of them talking about what’s important to them. Trust me. That evidence will become one of your newest treasures.