Our three kids each have a Special Friend, a stuffed animal that they sleep with, and they are like three extra members of our families. All our friends know the Special Friends by name. They come with us any time we will be sleeping somewhere else. They are the ultimate in comfort for our children.
All three are showing signs of deep love, from thinned out fur to floppy necks to a vague greyness that has taken over their original fur colour. But none has been loved more than Shearly, who is Gal Smiley’s stuffed sheep.
Shearly’s ear, in particular, has been rubbed and sniffed and worried so that it now looks like this:
Despite many repairs – even a complete reconstruction with new material at one point – we have decided that the ear is now beyond help. It’s very close to falling off completely and we explained very, very gently that there’s little we can do for Shearly at this point.
And so, again, very very gently, we have introduced the idea of perhaps putting Shearly out to pasture – she’d still sleep nearby, but we’d get a new Primary Special Friend, and let Shearly retire in peace. We’re just afraid of her falling apart completely, and what that might mean to poor Gal Smiley.
I went through this myself at exactly her age, age 9, when my original sleep buddy (a dog named Kelly) had been repaired for the umpteenth time by my mother. She was at the point where she was weaving threads in and out to create “fabric” over places that had worn away to loonie-sized holes. It took months for her to convince me it was time for someone new; then, she took me on a special shopping trip to the Eaton’s Centre in Toronto where I blew my entire savings (a massive $22) on a single soft, cuddly bear named Honey. Honey and Kelly shared the bed for a while before I made the transition and it was okay, but I’ve been there and I know there are tears to be shed in the near future.
This past weekend we were shopping and happened upon a new friend. It was love at first sight. Everything we wanted – a sheep, slightly bigger than Shearly, white, soft, cuddly.
She’s known as Big Shearly for the time being.
So far, Big Shearly sleeps beside Shearly and Gal Smiley. But there are tentative hugs at night, and snuggles in the morning. We’re not sure yet if it’s going to take, but there’s hope.
It’s the little things you need to help your kids get through that really matter, isn’t it? Moving from Shearly to Shearly is almost as tough for me as it is for her. But I know it’s going to be okay, for all of us. Happy holidays, Shearly dear.