Requiem for a Cream-colored Lovey

Thank you all for coming. I’m sure my toddler will appreciate it years from now, when we show him pictures and explain everything, since he’s barely three and doesn’t understand what it’s all about and won’t remember a single moment.

It’s been a tough couple of days since Lovey left us, particularly for Detective Munch, who has lost his sidekick, his snot rag, his bunk-mate, his whipping boy, his partner-in-crime, his napkin…

His best friend.

It’s a sad day, but we’re here to celebrate a life well-lived, not mourn an untimely – but inevitable – passing. Let’s face it, if Lovey hadn’t been lost, he probably would’ve disintegrated; dude was FILTHY. (By which I mean: well-loved.)

Lion Lovey has ascended to the great toy store in the sky, where he is surely comforting some other little boy who needs him even more than mine did. Unless some grimy thief stole him from the Target where he was last seen, in which case the formerly worshipped blankie/stuffed animal thing’s existence has likely been reduced to something like Jesse Pinkman’s in the last few episodes of Breaking Bad.toddlers, children, parenting, lovies, keepsake, lovey, stuffed animal, fatherhood, motherhood, eulogy, family, funny, humor, grief

But stop looking so glum; this is a party! By which I mean if my kid doesn’t stop screaming about his lost plush handkerchief-that’s-kinda-sorta-in-the-shape-of-a-lion thing I won’t stop drinking until he falls sleep. Which makes it no different from any other day with a toddler, really.

Strangely, it’s we parents who are usually most devastated by the loss of a child’s favorite plaything. I honestly thought – hoped, really – that my son would have Lovey forever, that it would be something we kept for decades – even at its most threadbare, even when he had matured well beyond it. If you have a child, or once were a child, or will one day become a child – shout out to Benjamin Button! – odds are you have experienced, one way or another, the phenomenon of the strong attachment to one particular toy or blankie or stuffed animal. (Are you reading this on your smartphone right now? How would you feel if you lost that? Exactly.)

For our kids, those toys and blankies and stuffed animals are reminders of home; reminders of us; reminders of love and safety. For us, witnessing the bond between our kids and their favorite inanimate objects, they are reminders of the type of innocent devotion that grows more elusive as we grow older. As such, the longer they have it, the more that toy or blanket or stuffed animal becomes a kind of souvenir from their childhood, and from when they were your precious little guy or gal.

We gave our son his beloved Lion Lovey at 8 months old, and by his first birthday the blanket-with-the-lion’s-head had pretty much become the fourth member of our family. We couldn’t go anywhere without him; our son wouldn’t even think of sleeping without him; and the idea of losing him was nearly as harrowing as the idea of losing Detective Munch himself. There had been some close calls before, and every time, when Lovey’s demise seemed imminent, I nearly had a heart attack. But, every time, the little blanket-with-the-lion’s-head escaped, and our afternoon/evening/entire night/several weeks of sleep was salvaged.

linus, peanuts, toddlers, fatherhood, stuff animals, blankies, charlie brown, kids, children, familyNot this time.

But while Detective Munch already seems prepared to move on, Mom and Buried has cried several times, and I am repeatedly rewatching the finale of “Breaking Bad” to figure out exactly how to make that mechanical strafing contraption Walt stashed in his trunk. The guest services alcove at the local Target, home to the callous employees who disregarded our pleas to look just a little but harder for what we thought would be a lifelong keepsake, might deserve a visit…

As satisfying as such a visit might be, it won’t bring Lovey back. So today, we say goodbye to one little boy’s first friend, a steadfast companion who somehow endured night after night of drool baths, endless afternoons being dragged underneath a stroller like Indiana Jones, and countless mealtimes in which he was treated like a smock at best and a wetnap at worst, and whose loyalty to my son never wavered.

My son will be fine. Kids are resilient; they adapt, they adjust. Already, Lovey’s neglected and overlooked sibling, Blovey (because he’s the otherlovey, and he’s blue and we’re clever!), is stepping up and putting aside his resentment at being the Jan Brady of our clan to pitch in when he’s needed most. And judging by the way Detective Munch is clutching Blovey to his face right now, I think it’s working. But we won’t forget his first, even if he does.

So farewell, Lion Lovey. Sleep tight. And if you are in the clutches of an evil, thieving Target employee, may you somehow find a way to strangle him in his sleep, or at least keep him as awake as we’re likely to be for the foreseeable future, every time my son wakes up and realizes you’re not there, and that Blovey is an imposter.

toddlers, children, parenting, lovies, keepsake, lovey, stuffed animal, fatherhood, motherhood, eulogy, family, funny, humor, grief

Lion Lovey
Beloved companion and somewhat-repulsive filth receptacle
5/2011 – 10/2013

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9 thoughts on “Requiem for a Cream-colored Lovey

  1. Must be something in the air. My 25 days away from being 3, yes I’m kinda freaked out) lost his ” mr.woobie” a few days. It was filthy. It had holes in it, the head had fallen off twice, I gave it new ears, and no matter how much I washed it, a odd smell lingered on it. He cried for it and honestly I cried for it as well. It was a rough first few days. He swallowed is sorrows in a cup of chocolate, I in a LARGE glass of wine or 3. I feel your pain. The kicker in our situation is we are moving and as I was moving boxes I found his beloved Mr.woobie and then had to make the that choice. Does he stay away. It’s been 4 days at this point ,and the tears have stopped ,or do I give it back. Sucks to be me!

  2. Why does this make me want to cry, but laugh uncontrollably at the same time? My daughter won’t do anything without her “bebra”, and I think I would be more devastated than her if she lost it.. Of course we’ve bought 6 to try to ever avoid this lol.

  3. Greatest thing my sister did for me when my son was born: made him one “Silkie” and gave me a bunch of the same fabric, from which I made 5 more identical silkies. All were used on a rotating basis, so they would get a similar amount of wear/washing. We thought we were fooling him, til the day he informed us he didn’t want *that* silkie, he wanted one of the *other ones*. Worked well, though- one became part of his baby clothes quilt, a few have been lost over the years and two or three remain (in tatters) for those days when even a 12 year old needs something to hold onto.

  4. BQ has little b, big b, and green b. He’s also got an impressive rabbit fur collection and a new coon skin cap. Little b, baby blanket, was the first and is barely existent. Even reinforcements added later are tattered and grey. Big b was a quilt and is thread bare. Green b used to be fluffy. All are still important. DA likes his stuffed animals. He’s got a new fox, but loves his dog and his pillow pet dog. His tossable wookie is great too. It’s been made angry bird style.

  5. We have a “lovey” too. His name is Horton (he’s an elephant) and has been with Noah since birth. Luckily for us, we were able to obtain a couple of backup Horton’s because we once forgot him on a trip up to Nana’s. Thank god we were able to find another up in NC at Target before things got too out of hand! So sorry for your loss…

  6. Aw, poor fella. My daughter still has hers, but there was one ugly day we thought we’d lost it. Turned out, it was in a chair outside. I totally understand this. Here’s hoping he “forgets” soon.

  7. Working in an animal hospital is never boring. My favorite day EVER was when an adorable 3 year old girl brought her “Binky” (beloved stuffed dog) to us for surgery and grooming to repair the chewed off ears and loss of stuffing from an attack by a vicious Jack Russell Terrier.(Her mother had called me earlier to make the arrangements)After properly checking Binki in, weighing him and taking his vitals, we took him back to surgery while his tiny owner sat and waited. She was very nervous and full of apprehension. When the doctor brought out Binky, (the new one her mom had slipped me while her daughter wasn’t looking) she squealed and giggled while hugging Binky close for several minutes. Best of all, she then ran to the doctor and hugged him tight, saying Thank You over and over. It was a beautiful moment that I will never forget. I am sure that Veterinarians everywhere would be happy to do this for their clients, in these situations.

  8. We have this exact same one, but we bought the “pair and a spare”. We have triple sets for the zebra and lion for my youngest, and eldest has giraffe and bear. From the moment they were born. Eldest at 9 knows we have more than one set, youngest has no clue that we switch them out, even though the labels are now different and one has a hole. The spares will remain and be passed down to their kids, I guess. The company that made these ones are brilliant, and I am half tempted to get sets for future grand children!!

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