A Funny Word, Thing

The ‘Powers That Be’ at WordPress have decided to give prompts to people who are in the mind to do a post a day but may have trouble with what to write about.  I understand that this is something that they used to do, people missed it and complained and so it has been resurrected.  Today the topic is ‘the most precious thing you have ever lost’.  Hmmm… Thing.  I don’t consider people or animals things, so I am not going to go with the standard grandparents, college friends, my pet cat.  Thing… (here, I pause to ponder for some time)

When I was about 14 years old and full of teenage angst and still very much a child, I asked for a CareBear for Christmas.  There was nothing I wanted in the world more than a pink, rainbow-bellied, fuzzy CareBear.  This was many, many years ago when they were new and not the second time around.  On Christmas morning, there it was, at the top of my stocking – just what I had asked for!  Oh, I loved that thing.  I slept with it every night for years, even taking it to college with me and sleeping with it in the dorm.  It was a tie to childhood and security and home.

The summer after my sophomore year, some friends and I were house & dog sitting for one of our professors.  It was a lovely lake home with a real bedroom for each of us.  The dogs were rambunctious labs who stayed inside all the time and were, thus, inside while we were at work during the day.  Each day, I was careful to close and latch the door to my assigned bedroom because I did not want the dogs getting into my things.  Towards the end of the week, we got back to the house to find the living room strewn with pink fluff and poly-fil stuffing.  My worst nightmare had come true.  The dogs had gotten into my bedroom during the day and destroyed the one thing that I loved most in the world.  My CareBear had been chewed and tossed and de-stuffed.  It’s button nose and the heart button near its back-side were gone.  A big hole replaced one of its ears.  I cried.  I cried and cried and cried.  Part of my childhood was ripped to shreds.

I called my mother (fixer of all things) and she told me not to throw it away, but to send it to her and she would see what she could do.  Off it went into the mail.  She did her best – re-filling the bear, sewing closed all of the holes, patching him back together.  I still have the CareBear, in my cedar chest.  25 years later, it still tugs a hole in my heart to think of those dogs destroying my childhood friend.  I don’t let my children play with him.  He is mine, my memory, my past.  But I lost him that day.  What I have now is just a memory of what once was.

And that is the most precious thing I ever lost.  My childhood.