|Tiggy enjoys college.|
All of this makes me sound like a very lonely child. When I used to share anecdotes in class about my childhood, Amy always said it sounded like I was an only child, which isn't true. Na and I are only 18 months apart and we always did everything together. Growing up, we were very close and we're even closer nowadays. But I still felt isolated and afraid of people as a child. When I first got sick and my friends stopped talking to me, it wasn't as terrible of a blow because I was fine with my collection of stuffed animals at home to be my friends. When I heard my friends talking about me behind my back, speculating over "what was wrong with me," I became spiteful of their fake demeanors as they pretended to still be nice. I replaced people and trust with bright, furry creatures and I didn't mind it at all.
You know that scene in Toy Story 3 when...okay, well it was really ALL of Toy Story 3 that got me. The movie hit home for me, from the beginning when Andy needs to decide who to bring to college with him to the end--no spoilers; if you saw it, you know what I'm talking about. Though I know that my stuffed animals don't come to life when I'm not around, I have an emotional connection to them that is generally absent from my life and, thus, makes it hard for me to imagine them gone forever.
Which is why Na's text message to me yesterday made me bawl: "Going through more stuffed animals. Found lamb chop, bobo bear, dolphin, sea otter...Any keepers? Picture of line up to follow..."
And then she sent a picture of them all lined up on a shelf, smiling and just as worn and fuzzy as I'd left them.
First: thanks Na, that was cruel. Second: I know I have no practical purpose for keeping them in my parents' house. I had no intention of taking all of my stuffed animals to college with me and I wouldn't be playing with them when I do go home to visit. They would be "sitting around and collecting dust," as my mom used to point out when she would donate our old toys. As I looked at the picture my sister sent me, I knew that there were plenty of other children in the world who would love those stuffed animals. But would they take as good care of them as I had? What if they just threw them away?
|Me, age 3, with Rosie at my grandparents' house, pre-washing machine incident.|
In the end, I told Na to donate the stuffed animals in the house to Maryhouse and I know I won't regret it. Whether they go to "better homes" or not, I had my years with them and now it's time to move on. Things aren't meant to be permanent, and so...farewell, old friends. And thanks for saving me all those years when I had nowhere else to turn.