Our Story Begins:
The Tale Of A Dog And A Monkey
The little dog was a gift, one to my son.
I was heading on a trip out of town and I had bought the little guy for him so that he could hold it and not feel like I was nearby. To be fair to him, at that time he was something like 4 years old.
His twin brother, instead, had an affinity for sock monkeys after seeing the movie Mister Magorium’s Wonder Emporium. I found the company whose socks are used for the original monkeys – the Fox River Sock Company. He got that instead of the dog.
The two animals have suffered major and minor injuries. I have a sewing kit, like any single parent, stashed away in case of just such an emergency. I take some pride in knowing the stitches aren’t showing on the two little creatures.
The repairs happen regularly because, even at their now pre-teen age, the animals tend to be part of their lives, they have for the last eight years.
I managed to spend the last two weeks on vacation visiting family. I asked the boys to pack a backpack for the plane ride East. As I tucked them in for the night at my parents’ house I looked and saw that each of them had the animals in their beds, right next to them. When I asked why they used valuable carry-on space for their stuffed animals they looked at me aghast.
“Why wouldn’t we?” was their simple answer.
Security is important for kids and the one constant, the thing that reminded them of a stable and comfortable home. They were a reminder of the fact that I was coming home, no matter what. Anything that made them uncomfortable, say flying in a tin can with wings at 30,000 feet or going halfway across the country were simply washed away by the fact that, somewhere under the seat in front of them were these little animals.
Someone once asked if I thought they were too big to have stuffed animals, they’re starting to hit puberty and get older, after all.
I don’t worry. They aren’t carrying them to school or walking around all day with these little animals in their arms. They aren’t attached at the hip to them.
Their two older sisters, at this writing 20 and 16, respectively, had animals, too. One had a stuffed horse, a friend’s birthday gift when she was five, and another a teddy bear dressed in a soccer uniform. They both still have those animals. My oldest only just left the horse behind when she’d gotten interested in boys. The middle stopped using the bear a couple years ago . . . but they both still have them, there, in their rooms.
I love the fact that a simple gift, a reminder of their Dad is a reminder that things will be okay. The number of hours they spent with the animals has diminished as each year passes.
It’s just as nice for Dad, though, that, when I went to tuck them in on a cold, brisk night, that the boys were there, animals in hand, secure and sleeping.