Sweet stuffed bear at StitchFace on Etsy–the bear that made me remember.
If you know me, this is no surprise. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see I have not really changed all that much over the plethora of years. It’s just now, my stuffed animals are dogs–alive and breathing. They still live all over my bed.
Zephyr and me, above; Our beloved Shadow below.
I wonder sometimes when this came about, this love of all things animal. I was given dolls, but I never liked them–hard plastic, batting eyes, their caustic vinyl smell. Nothing warm or comforting there. But I still remember my very first & most beloved stuffed animals. I STILL own them, tucked away in a trunk: A small blue bear stuffed with straw, won at the state fair by someone–my grandmother, mother?–for knocking over bowling pins or skipping pennies across a shallow plate to win a prize.
Another, a stuffed pink rabbit with long floppy ears whose belly was a music box I don’t remember hearing. It was a baby shower gift for me–ME. What an unbelievable thought.
Retrieved from the treasure trunk. Poor blue bear. Stuffing falling out like Dorothy’s Scarecrow.
The last was a purple bean bag pig that I woke up with after being rushed to the hospital for an emergency appendectomy. He was a gift from our baby sitter. He staved off my fears, then joined our pack.
When you wake up in the hospital it’s good to have a purple pig.
When I was 6 we lived in a house where I had a queen sized bed all to myself. Yet, at night I lined up each animal, body tucked beneath the covers, head lighted upon the pillows, an entire row of them that left me a small bedding slice along the edge–not even the middle! I could not risk someone falling to the floor, freezing in the cold winter night. And what has changed in all these years? Nothing. I still wake in the night to see that Zephyr is warm somewhere in the house, tucked in, not freezing on the floor.
It may sound peculiar, but I love this about my life: the surprising ability to nurture and protect my animal pack that began with keeping stuffed bears off the floor at night. Or maybe, it has always been them protecting me. Either way: Dear universe, thank you. 🙂