Stuffed Toys Are My Son’s Only Friends
When I read Lisa Kalkes’ story No One Wanted To Play With My Son, my heart sank a little. That is something so difficult to deal with, I told myself. Children can be so cruel, but sending your little one out there and hoping he’ll adjust is something we all have to do, eventually. I’ve been thinking about it for a while and I sort of concluded that I was ready 🙄 It turned out there are no kids for me to send my son to, thanks to the pandemic. So there we are, tucking him for the night, and him reaching out for the stuffed animals next to his bed — Mommy, these are my friends, I need them with me, so they can keep me safe.
Enter end-of-the-world-sadness. He’s three. A stuffed 🐈, 🐕, 🐢 and🐧are his only friends, or that’s what he thinks. It’s not like he hasn’t seen children in his life. He just didn’t get the chance to play with any of them long enough to call them friends. What was I to say?
Of course, sweetie, they will keep you safe. Also, you have me…
You won’t let anyone hurt me?
Not even a crocodile?
Not even a crocodile! 😳
Thank God he didn’t ask me about covid, because, what was I to say then?
There is no parenting book for surviving the pandemic
I can promise you, son, I’ll do everything in my power to keep you safe. Will it be enough? That I do not know, for every day that goes by, I feel more powerless. This isn’t the world I thought you’ll live in. These aren’t the cards I hoped we’ll be handed. These aren’t the problems I imagined we’ll be facing.
Yet here we are, each bright new morning, getting up and dusting ourselves off your stuffed friends that piled up over us during the night. No matter what today will bring, it’s still a day we’re lucky to live. And while I can’t foresee what growing up in this world will do to you, who's to say you won’t turn out much better than in the world I envisioned for you?
You’re three, but you’ve already learned to ask the question that makes all the difference: how do we solve the problem? Now you’re asking it when you wake up in the middle of the night with a stuffy nose or when you cry until you start coughing. Tomorrow, you might as well ask it when you’ll embark on a mission that will make the world a better place.
I don’t quite know how to raise you. I can’t make your world, our world, problem-free. But I can try to shape you to be a problem-solver. One day, you’ll have a lot more than stuffed animals as friends.