The dynamic duo. Ever since the very beginning. Gifted to me by my late grandmother, they were bright pink and blue, with fluffy wool all over them. Now they’re both gray and no longer covered in that comforting cloth. They symbolized youth, now they symbolize aging. When they were first gifted to me they were fully stuffed with cotton stuffing and plastic beads, making them rattle for a baby and soft enough that they wouldn’t injure anybody when it was swung around. When they would get a hole, I would run crying to my mother to fix them, and she would perform “surgery” on them in order to make them feel better again. I would be so happy when they came back to me perfectly again. I could barely go a few hours without them, so my mother would often have to perform this “surgery” when I was asleep. They were my favorite things in the world, there wasn’t a way to separate us.
Now there’s a hole in one of their hands so large you could fit your pinky finger into it. It has holes in the stomach, leg, foot, neck, and even lost an eye several times. I wake up to their beads lying around in my bed so often that I have to pick them up and put them back into the hole that gapes in their leg. I used to carry them with me when I was a little baby, but now they lay in my bed, awaiting a time when they will get to see the sun again outside my bedroom window and go on adventures with me everywhere as they did in the past. They long to get lost somewhere and have to get picked up in a dirty parking lot hours later. They long to be brought on fourteen-hour road trips and be cuddled the whole time. They long to be loved again. But now they do nothing but sit in my bed and watch as the day turns to night and the leaves fall off trees.
I never stopped loving them. I just grew up. I’m no longer the excited child that is attached at the hip, and I’m no longer the person that would spend hours teaching herself gymnastics and having dance parties daily. I no longer leave the house and am anxious to return home to them when I get back from school. I am not this child anymore.
I can no longer carry them around with me everywhere I go, leaving them places and having to return for them hours later. They’re now too fragile to be removed from the safe haven of my room, their beads leaving a soft trail behind them every time they move. But they never stopped giving me comfort. I cry into their rough gray cotton and complain about every problem I have with them, and they sit there and listen. I watch as their cotton turns dark with my tears, soaking up my pain and holding it with them so that I no longer have to. I know they care as deeply for me as I do for them. They will never leave my side, no matter how old I get; they will always mean everything to me, even if I don’t show it the same way.