Talking to the Animals

When the girls were around six months old (or maybe a bit younger), one of Tim’s fellow graduate students bought them an extra large Pooh Bear. By extra large, I simply mean he outranked them by quite a bit. (Pooh never outweighed them, but he certainly stood taller, since on his back paws, Pooh stands close to three feet.) Pooh Bear originally lived with us in our little two-bedroom apartment, where he served as pillow, play toy, guardian, friend, and more, and while all the kids have enjoyed his presence, he’s still technically Zoe’s and Talia’s.

So he lives in their room, which, thanks to their recent move to college, is now a pretty empty room.

At first, I wasn’t sure where to put Pooh. He deserved to be seated out in the open; he had, after all, provided years of comfort and joy, and placing him inside a closet or box or down in the basement just didn’t seem right. Neither did choosing one of the girls bed’s over the other. If I did that, I’d have to alternate where he sat each day. And that would force me to 1. look into that empty room (thus triggering tears), and 2. remember whether or not I moved him (thus probably triggering more tears from too many things to remember!).

My solution? I spoke to him.

Before you call me a little loopy, I want to point out that I’ll agree with you. And I’d also like to add that talking to stuffed animals is nothing new. There’s a reason The Velveteen Rabbit is, to this day, one of my favorite books (I cry every single time I read it, and that release is so cathartic). Furthermore, when my youngest and I have a slumber party, I’m in charge of at least three animals overnight. I tuck them in, hold them close, and if I have to use the restroom, they go with me (if they’re awake). We exchange secrets, warm each other up, and bond.

Back to the bear . . . Pooh and I chatted for a bit, and it came to our realization that he’d miss both the girls equally (no surprise there). While he wanted to face the door so that he’d see them the moment they came home to visit, he decided to sit on the couch that faces their beds. That way, he could imagine them lying there, earbuds in, music on, cats sprawling across their beds, lazy smiles on their faces. “The way I remember them,” he said.

His reasoning is valid. I like to remember them that way too.


Image of child holding a stuffed animal by lisa runnels from

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