May 28, 2009

Hippopotami

Cleaning out a toy drawer today I found a small stuffed hippopotamus. It was one of a pair we bought right before Firefly was born. This one stayed with us, tucked near where Firefly slept. The other went home with Beth.

I know it may sound a little strange that we gave a grown woman a stuffed animal. It was an attempt at giving her something tangible to touch when she was missing Firefly in the quiet of the night, something to hold that was linked to something close to her daughter in that moment. We took a photo of Firefly's twin animal resting in her bassinet, so Beth could better picture her sleeping nestled in the red and white bedding. Those tiny details meant so much to all of us at the time.

It was a small gesture, a single sandbag put up against what must have been an overwhelming flood of grief. Maybe in the end it was meaningless; I don't know if it brought any real comfort to Beth, although the thought did at the time.

There is no grand point to this post, other than putting a memory onto the page so that it won't be lost. Until I saw the little hippo in the drawer today I had forgotten about those two linked animals. We kept that grey hippo by Firefly's bed for many months, but clearly at some point it traveled away and neither Todd nor I thought to go looking for it.

That time of transition and upheaval in Firefly and Beth's lives seems so distant to me now. Many of the details from those days are slipping away, perhaps gone forever unless a rediscovered toy or some such thing jogs my memory. And it doesn't escape me that it is my position alone in the triad with the privilege of being allowed to forget.

6 comments:

luna said...

funny I should read this now as we are thinking about what to give K when the baby is born. I had similar thoughts about sharing something tangible by getting two of something. we might go with a tree, for reasons that K will understand.

Sassy said...

I love the idea of the matching toys.

Heather said...

@luna - Oh, it wasn't her actual gift, we gave her a necklace after F was born. We handed off the stuffed animal to her earlier, before the birth.

I think a pair of trees would be lovely! It's much more my style--but the necklace was more Beth's. :)

SocialWkr24/7 said...

That is a beautiful memory!

Lori said...

We did the matching animals with our second baby as well. Everytime I see it, I think of his birthmom. And whenever he plays with it, I like to mention something about her. At the time, I thought of it as a comfort object for his birthmom but it has evolved to be a reminder of their bond for us as well.

SJ said...

My son Cory and I have the same teddy bear. My counselor gave them to us after he was born. It has always been a great comfort to me knowing that he has the same bear that I do.

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