I was en route to preschool pickup when I saw it in a pile of stuff marked FREE. A Gund Snuffles. I’d know that face anywhere.
I actually stopped the car in the middle of the road, but then I drove on to preschool pickup because for some reason they consider “not picking up your child” to be “neglect.” But on the way home I picked it up out of the pile.
Every one of my children has a Gund Snuffles, even Kiddo#3 who appears to have permanently misplaced his. I bought a big one and a small one in white for Emily, and she’s buried with the big one. The one in the pile was white, like Emily’s, so I took it. I wasn’t sure what I’d do with it, but I had vague ideas of keeping it on my nightstand.
I looked again at the pile. No more Snuffles, but I did find a cat and a leopard. I gave the leopard to Kiddo#4. Kiddo#2 would want the cat.
Kiddo#2 came home and was delighted with her cat, then walked back to see if there were more. There were three. Hooray. If you open a window on my house, stuffed animals wouldn’t pour out of it like grain from a feed dispenser. Clearly we needed to fix that.
Kiddo#3 came home…and for some reason, K2 assumed the Gund Snuffles was for him. I don’t know why, but suddenly it had been presented, and he was pleased, and it was a done deal.
I was still trying to figure out what had happened when Kiddo#2 exclaimed, “Let’s go up the block and see if there’s anything else you’d like!”
Can you hear the drumrolls of doom? Yeah. I told them to bring back two or three. No more. I should have told them to hold back the tide with a tablespoon.
They returned lugging a TJ Maxx bag containing the whole pile. “But…” Kiddo#2 had tears in her eyes. “The woman said if we didn’t take them, she was going to bring them all TO THE DUMP!”
So we went from one stuffed animal to five million. We’re going to be buried in plush.
I forced Kiddo#3 to pick three, and I will leave the rest at a doctor’s office where she gives prizes to kids who behave. And then I guess never return to that doctor again…?
Kiddo#3 has a friend who pops over all the time. I invited her to take “one or two.” **snicker** She took half. “Oh, I shouldn’t take any more! I don’t have a bag to carry them.” “Here, sweetie. I have plenty of bags.” “THANKS Mrs. Philangelus!” Please note that I am not answering if this child’s mother phones.
This morning I couldn’t get Emily off my mind, and I realized this: I stopped for the Gund Snuffles because of her. And then somehow all these other stuffed animals followed me home.
If I look back eleven years, I see a lot of other people who reached out to me because of Emily, because they needed help or because I understood or maybe because I seemed “safe” to confide in because I’d lost a child. I can still remember the names of so many children whose mothers were on the anencephaly support groups with me. So in a way, because of Emily, the memory of all these other children followed me home too.
It’s not a bad thing. Not a bad thing at all.