Monday, May 23, 2011

No Man Left Behind.

If we move, what if all of my stuffies don’t fit in the car?

Mommy won’t be devastated, that’s what if.

At last count, my daughter had exactly 237 stuffed animals and dolls. Bunnies and kitties categorically outnumber all others and a well-loved and formerly cashmere-soft bunny we found for her first Christmas reigns supreme, but each of these little friends matters.

When one goes missing a man-, er, stuffy-hunt is unavoidable. (I still hear about the unicorn and that one disappeared almost a year ago.) Trying to make room for the holiday season, I quietly removed a few from the bottom of the pile. She hadn’t played with them in months, but an all-points bulletin was issued by morning.  

The point is she knows each one. And judging by the gravity of expression and tone, she is ready to go to the mat on their behalf.

I had hesitated bringing up the idea of moving. The more that people had tried to remove us from the pain with the suggestion that we leave and never look back, the deeper my heels had sunk. We needed to stay – this was our home. Their life, our life, with him was encased in these walls and I hoped desperately that even at their young ages being in this house would ingrain those memories. The overwhelming need to keep him alive for them kept me from leaving the pain of his death behind.

As time passed the cold, hollow emptiness of each hallway and corner gradually gave way, laughter replacing tears. “Remember when Daddy was standing right here and his voice sounded funny from the balloons and we were laughing?” “I remember when Daddy was stinky and he jumped in the pool with his clothes!”

Staying was the right choice, and it was the only choice to make. But now that we have absorbed every memory in these walls and learned to laugh again, there is a spark of energy and excitement in the air. The possibility that we could start fresh in a new place has made us all wonder.  What if?

237 stuffies would apparently come along for the ride, that’s what if.

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