Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Oh, for the love of......

Loveys! Why, oh why, don't they make GPS for loveys? After spending the umpteenth hour searching for the lovey who has been lost umpteenth times, I am fantasizing about simply pressing a little remote control button.... hearing the shrill beep.... and quickly, speedily, heroically locating the lost lovey.

Aidan's lovey, Gladys, is a small, limp, formerly-yellow-but-now-a-shade-of-gray duck. She bears a small blue scar, courtesy of an overzealous painter (Aidan) who insisted she could "watch" as he "helped" Daddy paint.... her beak bore the brunt of Aidan's cutting teeth when he was younger, and is matted and disfigured as a result. More recently, she has become the experimental object of choice in every flying experiment Aidan conducts. (In other words, he constantly flings her around the room.) She's been lost beneath mounds of clothes in the dress up box, cooking away in the (play) microwave, trapped under the seat cushions, and, most harrowing, pinned beneath the garden hose and abandoned in the mulch. Yet she's survived it all, and is loved all the more for it.

Leo has two loveys: Flat Cat, whom he's had since birth, and Flat Lion, who was acquired during one of Flat Cat's first disappearances. Wise moms warned me when they saw Gladys for the first time - buy two loveys, in case something happens to one of them - but everyone knows that there's only one true lovey. Like Gladys, Flat Cat is formerly-yellow-turned-gray, and has no stuffing in any part of her body besides her head (thus, appropriately named.) After watching me wipe down the kids' table with a shot of Windex and a paper towel, Leo apparently decided Flat Cat was a good substitute for a paper towel.... and proceeded to mop up the excess Windex with poor Flat Cat's backside. The result? Total trauma: the two hours it took to wash - and dry - Flat Cat in the laundry.

Why, exactly, are these stinky, floppy, unattractive animals so well-loved? What makes us become so attached? And when I say "us," I really do mean "us." For as much as I sigh and moan and complain when I'm searching for the Lost Duck and Lost Cat (closely followed by searching for my Lost Mind) I am nearly as invested in finding them as my children are in reconnecting with their lovey. Gladys and Flat Cat are with us in the best of times, and in the worst of times. Sometimes, I feel like they are my partners in fighting the tears - frustration, exhaustion, pain, hurt.

I'll never forget the day my dear friend wept when she realized her daughter's "Baby" was lost, forever, at the grocery store. Never mind that SHE had the foresight to have a backup Baby, never mind that her daughter (eventually) came to accept the backup as the original. Perhaps, in our minds as mothers, we realize that those loveys become surrogates, the companions who can sleep each night tucked in the crib or bed, who can travel safely in the car seat, who can snuggle under chins during favorite videos or after a long day of preschool, surrogates for what we feel in our hearts but cannot always provide with our arms.

My father's childhood lovey, Bell Boy, held a place of honor on a shelf in our family room. My brother's lovey, Munchie Mouse, was attached to a quilt given to him on his 30th birthday. My own lovey, Pink Bear, attended my wedding dressed in a tuxedo. And it is with these renewed memories of loveys, lost and found, that I redouble my efforts at finding Miss G......

....who has deftly maneuvered herself into the book basket!!!

1 comment:

Jeff Carter said...

Wow, after reading this I realize that you have perfectly placed the emotion that goes with my love of our children's friends. You are absolutely right, they are indeed members, if not leaders, of our Consolation Coalition!