Some of you will know and some of you won’t that this past week Alyssa has been really ill. I don’t just mean like bad flu ill, I mean like potential hospital stay ill and I am not ashamed to admit that I was bloody worried, bordering on scared. Apart from when she had her 6 week old jabs and slept on my chest in nothing but a nappy for two days, I have never seen my little bean so poorly and it came on so quick. On Friday, I noticed what I thought was a nappy rash and she didn’t really want her dinner and by Sunday evening the rash was all down her legs and arms, she had a temperature despite the calpol and nurofen rotation and then she point blank refused to eat or drink anything and was crying in pain. I sat rocking her and comforting her and doing everything I could think of as did her Nonna and her Bear. As much as she wanted mummy and to stay on mummy, there was someone else that I think comforted her even more than me. Someone who she probably thought understood her even better than I do and someone who I owe a very big thank you to…
I have some very early memories of my childhood – a lot of those are thanks to the fact that my family took a huge amount of photos and videos so I have always been able to look back at them and see what I was like. Particularly in shots and videos when I was ten years or younger you will nearly always see someone with me. He’s there, silently sharing every happy and every sad memory. He used to have brown eyes and brown skin and now, unfortunately, he has no eyes but wears a smart, knitted red jumper. Even now, 32 years after we originally met at my birth, he still sits on my bed and his cheeks still feel the tears I shed as an adult the way he did when I was a child. He has traveled all over the world, to every country and destination I have ever been and actually, I cannot imagine my life without him – quite frankly he has been the best friend I have ever had.
His name is Ted. I know, not very inventive. He is about as long as my forearm and as I said, no longer has any eyes, has some slightly worn patches where you can see his stuffing and has head several “operations” to fix him but he is my friend and comforter and has been since the day I was born. He knows all my secrets and has shared every moment and I hoped, when I found out I was pregnant that my own little one would be able to find a friend just like mine.
Everyone, I would like you to meet Mimmie. When she was born, as you can imagine, Alyssa was given several cuddly toys, including a long eared, long legged bunny in a tutu (Tutu Bunny), several little bunnies and teddies and of course Minnie Mouse. To begin with, it was Tutu Bunny who sat in her cot with her, night after night in hospital and when we came home we rotated toys but none of them really took and I began to think my little one would not find a friendship like mine. However then, I began to notice that one toy kept appearing because she had been retrieved by little hands. These little hands would hold her tight and Minnie’s nose would disappear into the mouth of the teething toddler and be sucked and chewed. So, I began putting my little one to bed with Minnie and after a few weeks, she wasn’t allowed to leave her bedroom without her and from there it has gone on and on.
Last Friday, when my little one started to feel unwell, she sat down on my lap and cuddled in but suddenly sat up, looked at me and for the first time said “Mimmie.” I knew who she meant and retrieved her from the other side of the room and together we snuggled down. For the next three days whether awake or asleep, Mimmie never left her side (except for a brief 20 minutes where she really did need to go through the wash!) and gave Alyssa her very own form of comfort. My daughter may love the bones of me and I did everything I could to help her get through this terrible illness but Mimmie has a certain magic, a magic that only my daughter can see and feel and touch and understand and until this past week I never truly appreciated how thankful I am to have had my own friend and for my daughter to now have hers.
This might seem silly to some, a whole post about cuddly toys and if so I am sorry that you don’t understand. Ted and Mimmie are so much more than the cuddly toys they were intended to be. They bring light in dark moments, they bring joy in happy times. They share our stories and our secrets and help us make mischief and accompany us on our adventures. They are our friends. They are part of the family and should always be remembered. To Mimmie, the little mouse on a blanket that my child has chosen to love and cherish, I say thank you. Thank you for doing what I couldn’t and for loving my little one as much as I do.