It was a baby blanket edged in silk. It might have been blue. If I catch the scent of freshly laundered sheets, I can almost remember it.
My mother used to tell me that I wore it down to a tiny scrap of silk binding, which I carried around until even that unraveled.
Scientists call them “transitional objects,” so named by a British pediatrician in 1953 in a paper called “A Study of the First Not-Me Possession.”
Parents know that these objects must be guarded with our lives. If you think you’ve experienced trauma over a lost blankie, let me just say that my daughter once accidentally set her lovie ON FIRE.
Once my childhood blankie had served its purpose, I moved on to stuffed animals.
There were various shapes and colors of dogs, and a Winnie-the-Pooh that my aunt sewed together out of Pooh-colored washcloths. My pet Chihuahua took an extreme dislike to Pooh, and would attempt to claw his stuffing out whenever I turned my back.
The king of my stuffed animals was Clarence, a stuffed lion that my uncle won at a county fair. Clarence was as big as I was, with a bright orange mane that I used to brush into a style best described as “Pringles man.”
Somewhere along the way he lost his little sparkly crown.
I was never scared of Clarence, because, for reasons that are still unclear to me, he was made with his eyes closed.
The stuffed animals and I had a favorite game we called “Raft.” We all piled onto a blanket on the floor, and if anybody put so much as a paw over the edge, they were doomed to be eaten by crocodiles. Clarence protected us all.
When I announced one day that I had outgrown Clarence, my mother wrapped him in a big, black trash bag and put him in the attic.
I always knew exactly where that trash bag was.
I never quite outgrew the stuffed animals. I’ve always understood “The Velveteen Rabbit” to be a work of nonfiction.
As newlyweds, my husband and I toted around a pair of stuffed cows named Rosalyn and Roscow. When we’d go on road trips, they would perch on the dashboard.
When my son was 5, his favorite stuffed animal was a Dalmatian named Doggo. My son liked to pilfer the nail scissors from the medicine cabinet so he could give Doggo haircuts. By the time he was finally done, Doggo was missing several spots and one ear.
When my daughter was 5, Clarence was finally rescued from the attic, along with a box of stuffed animals from my childhood that I was aghast to realize I had forgotten. Except for the red-and-white poodle, whose name was, I think, Peppermint.
My daughter quickly adopted Peppermint. Clarence was a different matter.
His stuffing was in dreadful shape; he was emaciated, unhuggable. His mane was coming apart at the seams.
He played a few games of raft, but mostly he stayed on top of the armoire in my daughter’s room, still the king of all he surveyed.
And my daughter loved him, because I loved him.
Contact Lisa Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org