“Is she still sucking her wrapper?”
A grandma on my street asked me recently, and I was transported to the early childhood of my older twins, when my daughter had been particularly fond of my bright yellow wrapper, that she went everywhere with.
It was less than two years ago she dropped it, after the wrapper ripped in different places and it was obvious that it just needed to go. My daughter used to cry whenever I washed this wrapper, and she would stand watch over it until it was dry, so she could have it back.
While she had her wrapper, her brother had this boxy book of ABCs, which he logged around back then, and he would show it to anyone who cared, asking them to tell him about the animals representing each letter.
I don’t have that particular wrapper my daughter used again, but I have that same material in the house, and whilst we were arranging our wardrobe recently, I was amazed at how her eyes picked up that material and before I knew it, she was clutching the wrapper to her chest with a cheesy smile on her face. I could see she was nowhere close to getting over that wrapper.
And that animal book still fascinates my son, even as an 8 year old.
My younger twins’ choices were more refined. They got stuck on teddy bears; one named Alien Princess, and the other Monkey. Those are their actual names. Toys have come and gone, but these two have survived. They just have a way of getting back into the house.
Over the years, I find I have come to attach sentimental values to these things. They are not just toys, a wrapper, books; so many special moments of my children’s childhood are attached to it. So, long after the children have outgrown them, I will still keep them to remind me that these people, who seem on a mission to beat mom’s height, were once small and vulnerable.
The same way my mom kept a treasure box filled with titbits from the childhood of my sisters and I. I don’t know yet, if I will get a new box for that, or just pass on the one I got to my Ada, but I guess I still have time to make up my mind. Consider it a family heirloom in the making.
While I’m considering it, a family friend actually has a family heirloom and it is not of the beautiful stones of this world. It is of a giant teddy bear, that has been so many things to their three children, while they grew up, and sometimes, still provides comfort just by being familiar.
They had bought the teddy when their first child was a baby. It was a huge thing that they kept far away from her bed, but it was in her room. When she started crawling, she found her way to it. She would climb all over it, try to topple it, which was pretty easy and it was always led to her breaking into a huge smile, showing off her baby teeth at achieving that feat.
There are pictures of her sleeping off in the arms of the teddy.
When she started walking, she had dragged the teddy around the house. It had served as playmate, seat, pillow and everything in between.
So many other smaller teddies have come and gone, but this one has remained even till now.
When they had another girl, she had found comfort in the teddy too. When their little brother came along, he formed his own attachment to the teddy and put his mark on it, by removing both eyes. That did not dissuade his sisters from playing with it.
Now that the teddy isn’t the centre of their lives anymore, it takes its pride of place in their living room, and if you guessed that their children gravitate towards that area, you wouldn’t be far from the truth.
For their parents, the teddy bear, which is just called Teddy, holds family history. It has appeared in too many family photos, you would think it was a family member…and in a way, it is.
For another mom, Kate, she’s the one, who isn’t ready to accept the fact that her son has outgrown his teddy, which he had had from birth.
He had held the teddy preciously at one time, slept with it faithfully by his side for years, took it on play dates, and now, as he grows into a teenager, he prefers spending time with his friends, rather than family. Kate finds the teddy is her only link to her son’s childhood that is fast disappearing.
A teddy that used to have its prime place on his bed now gets kicked under the same bed. Kate had tried to restore the teddy to its former place of glory but that ended up infuriating her son, who shoved it inside his wardrobe.
Well, Mr. Teddy has been rescued. It now sleeps in her own room, where it reminds her that her son was once a baby who loved a teddy, but that he has now also growing into a man, who might need that teddy some day in the future…or not.
Personally, I love keeping things for their sentimental values, so these mementoes from my children’s childhood help me to keep alive the memories of their seemingly fleeting childhood.
Like some said, “Our children grow up mostly in hindsight, with changes happening quietly, gradually, incrementally.” The memories we save of the journey remind us we were ever there, that our kids were ever small and totally dependent on us.
I would encourage us to actively keep memories, it will definitely be something to laugh or smile about in the years to come.
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