I made myself laugh thinking of the name of my favorite toy as a kid. His name
was is Plush and he is a plushie. How original! It was either that or Snowflake – because he was white as snow – but somewhere deep down I knew that name would grow to have a negative connotation in the future.
I find something beautiful in simplicity, so – even though people like my parents tried to make me rename him – I stood by my decision.
While Plush’s long fur is snow-white, his eyes are jet black. I found his longer coat particularly appealing. I would calm myself down by stroking it just like you would a real pet. All the other plush toys had short hair. The fur on the soles of his feet is trimmed and sooooo smooth. I like the contrast. The cherry on top that got my attention was his plaid bow tie. Such a gentleman – a role model. He has a wild side but he scrubs up well, too. It did not hurt that he was bigger than most of the others. I could really cuddle him and actually feel it without worrying that I was suffocating him.
While his size was a plus (bigger than others), it was also a disadvantage when we would go on vacation because I could not take him with me. Luggage space was immensely valuable and he took too much of it. Plush has a bit of a belly, which added weight to my backpack – a big no-no as well. My mom would check our luggage and so there was no way I could smuggle Plush with me.
For that purpose, my sibling and I chose our favorite ‘travel’ toys – a Beanie Baby dog and elephant. I named mine after our real-life dog and my sibling called the elephant “Baby Elephant.” (I have no idea how I decided to pick up writing in my early teenage years with such creativity.) Those were much easier to add to our luggage after Mom conducted her checks.
As a kid, I did not know why, but I knew that I was doing something wrong. I can see clearly now that I was cheating on Plush on a regular basis. He was there for me day in and day out and I repaid him by taking another toy with me on various trips to new and exciting places. (Does that mean that I had polygamistic tendencies as a kid? Or should I take comfort in knowing that I felt it was wrong to have two different ‘favorites’ for different times?)
One day, my mom decided it was time to wash Plush because his white fur started turning gray. (What is wrong with that?!) She put it in a washing machine… What came out almost broke my heart. Plush’s fur was now strandy (bunches of the hairs stuck together). Thankfully, once he dried, Mom brushed him and he was (almost) back to normal. It was good enough for me. I was not going to stop loving him just because he looked different than before.
At times, I would take my clothes and put them on Plush so that we would be dressed in a similar manner, ex.: gym shorts and a t-shirt for working out. I did not want him to feel different. (It is amazing how thoughtful kids are without realizing why they do the things they do.)
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