This ragged looking fellow is (the not so creatively named) Mr. Dog, Anders’ lovey. I know he was a gift from my mother, something to appease a stroller-confined and fidgety Anders as she and I looked around a department store, but I can’t remember exactly when he made the transition from possible yard sale fodder to an ever-present necessity in Anders’ life. Though I notice him appearing regularly in photos from the time Anders was about 13 months old.
He’s been sewn up and restuffed more times than I can count. He’s absorbed tears, been thrown up on, and dragged through the mud. He’s been on family vacations and to the first day of preschool and each day that followed. He’s been clutched against feverish skin, tossed to the ground in a fit of rage, and squeezed tightly when the dark seemed a little too scary.
Though he’s still by Anders’ side on most outings and is without fail snuggled up next to him at night when I tuck him into bed, I know that the day will come when he won’t need him anymore. In fact, there are some days lately on our way out the door to school when I have to remind Anders to bring him along. For now, he still hastily runs up the stairs to his room to retrieve him, but I know that the day is quickly approaching when he’ll shrug his little shoulders and keep on walking.
I will find Mr. Dog abandoned in the bottom of the toy box or crammed down and long forgotten between the wall and his bed. Someday Mr. Dog will be nothing more than a left behind feather in my empty nest. I can see us now, equally ragged, sitting together in a silent house, but until then I think we are both happy to have his affection even if that means being occasionally drug through the mud.
Does your child have a lovey or have they finally outgrown the longing for a stuffed animal or blanket to comfort them?