Thursday, November 12, 2009
I wish I knew where you were.
The last time I remember seeing you was Wednesday morning at the Health Department. I made the mistake of allowing the Pixie to take you in - figuring she would need the extra comfort for her vaccination - and I remember talking to the nurse about you. In fact, she gave my daughter Tigger and Pooh stickers because of you. I'm not sure what happened next. We realized you were missing at bedtime, and for some reason I just knew that this time you were really gone...that Toots hadn't just set you down in an odd place in the house. I was up all night worrying about both you and my daughter. When I did sleep I had bad dreams. You're awefully special to us all, and this is a terrible thing to have happened.
Tigger, you've been a part of our family for three years. You were a Christmas present from my husband's father to my wee Pixie...in celebration of her very first Christmas. None of us had any idea at the time of how important you would become. There was no indication that you were anything but another stuffed animal that would be loved intensely for a while and then set aside. I'm still not sure of how the magic happened.
What I do know is that a few months later the magic did happen. The girls and I had gone for a weekend with my parents, and Pixie and I were having a rough night. My sweet baby who never had sleep problems was struggling in an unfamiliar crib. I was exhausted, and more than a bit perplexed. The child who never needed comforting was hard to help because even she didn't know what she needed! Out of desperation, I took you and snuggled you up next to her. I remember watching with deep amazement as she pulled you close and then calmed down and went right to sleep. For the rest of our visit, every time she fussed in the night I just scooched you closer and you instantly helped her relax.
From then on, the two of you were inseparable. Being the smart parents we were, as soon as we figured out how attached our baby was we bought a second Tigger. For a long while we were able to trade you back and forth....although attempts to add another two Tiggers into the mix failed. At a year old, Toots was too wise for that. We were amused when we figured out that what she really wanted of you was to rub your ear and smell you. You were always being held right to her face, and she refused to go anywhere without you. When she started talking you became 'Tig Tig'. I'll fess up..it was a hard thing to take when she started to call you by your full name because it was a sign that my baby was growing up. Then - about a year and a half ago - she rejected the second Tigger as being, "The Other," while you became, "My Real." I don't think there's ever been a bigger love affair between a child and her favorite toy before. We always knew that she would be ok so long as you were there for her.
Your stripes were long gone, your ear was shredded through much love, there was a hole in your neck and you had no more stuffing in your head. Yet, you were one of the most beautiful creatures in our home and in her heart.
I suspect that you quietly slipped away because Pixie just doesn't need you so much anymore. I'd noticed that since school started she rarely carried you around the house anymore, and while she did still insist on taking you with her around town it was becoming increasingly more rare of an occurrence. Perhaps you knew that it was time for her to move on, or perhaps you didn't want to stick around until you felt rejection. I have to hope that you knew what you were doing.
In all honesty, I think your disappearance has hurt me more than it's hurt my child. After all, I am the woman who slept with the same stuffed Snoopy from the age of 3 until I traded him in for a husband. Just as he was (and is) real to me, so are you. It upsets me to think of you as being cold and alone. Yes, I'm being a very silly grown up, but that's just the way it is. I know we were going to have to wean the Pixie from you soon, but I had wanted to gently tuck you away for her so that she would always have you around. We adults are awfully attached to our childhood loves.
So here we are, two days later, and I've done everything in my power to find you. I called the health department and went by to check in person. They remember you clearly, and were sure that you hadn't been left behind. We tore apart the house and car, and I was out in the backyard with a flashlight at 11 pm the night you went missing. You're just gone, and I'm going to have to accept that.
So far the Pixie hasn't been too upset. We let the girls go to sleep together in our room on the first night, which was a huge distraction for her. Last night I let her take my Snoopy to bed, which was also a big treat. I can tell that she's upset, though, and she does ask about you. The first thing she said to me yesterday morning was that she was sad because she lost you. She gets quiet and wants to be held, and I wonder what's going on in her head and her heart.
In my heart of hearts I believe you've gone to that special place where beloved toys go to become real. I'm a great believer in the Velveteen Rabbit's story, and just know that somewhere you are bouncing and happy...with fresh stripes and a newly plush coat. Or perhaps you were found by a child who needed you more. Either way, I wish you well. Thank you so much for everything that you did for us, and please know that you will always be loved.