The Demise of Old Faithful

After waking up from a nap when I was about five years old, I could not find my security blanket, Old Faithful.  After a fruitless search on my own, I asked my mother where she was. Nothing in my short life could have prepared me for the answer I received.

“Gone. I threw her away.”

NONONONONONOOOOOOOO. This must be a mistake!

The answer “GONE” was the singularly most shocking thing I had ever heard in my five years on this earth.

old faithful2 The Demise of Old Faithful

I was unable to answer, my eyes growing wider and wider. Looking back, I believe the correct term for my condition was Shell Shocked.

“You are a big girl. You do not need her anymore.” My mom continued. “I threw her away. You will be fine.”

(I emailed my mother this post before I uploaded it to the Internet for God and Country to see, and she said this: It was not an easy decision on my part but you were in kindergarten with front teeth that were going to make an orthodontist rich.
This is what I ask: two images , one of how you saw OF (power and strength) and how I saw OF (dirty germ laden pile of rags).
And stop blaming me for your therapy!)

julia buck teeth2 The Demise of Old Faithful

At the very least, Old Faithful deserved a dignified Burial At Sea. She had been my most trustworthy companion for five years! She had stood (laid?) beside me through it all. We had started preschool together. We had stood together, sisters in solidarity, when my middle sister came home from the hospital.  I was her FAVORITE!

At the depths of my despair, a terrible realization came over me.  The person who was responsible for this egregious breach of trust was my own mother! How could she?!

I remember fleeing from the room, wailing loudly for my fallen best friend. I found my backup Old Faithful, and while she did offer comfort, she just wasn’t the same.

My mother did win that round as I gave up my special lovey.  And, thanks to years of therapy, I can look at a blanket without breaking down. KIDDING! The offing of Old Faithful did scar me, and I would be lying if I said I still didn’t have a tiny grudge against my mom for her literal EXECUTION of my blankie. I did live to tell, and now I feel like the score is evened up a little bit- my mom might have broken me of my attachment, but I get to write about it on the internet for everyone to read! (Note to self: do not encourage Emma to blog…)

Old Faithful

My mother is amazing. She is kind, she is patient- she is basically that First Corinthians bible verse that is read at every wedding.

However.

She is not infallible, and she has made some questionable calls over the years. Some notable failures include her Stalin-esque take on Halloween, her Inability to Make a Decision, and Perms. But possibly the most remarkable, was when she threw away my ‘lovey’ (my special security blanket).

My blankie’s name was Old Faithful, and she was awesome. With her, I was Superwoman. I could leap tall buildings effortlessly, I could fly, and most importantly, I could be quiet. (For those who know me, you know this is a life long struggle. I’m trying, I swear.) I was so attached to my blankie that I even had a back up blankie that was put into rotation while Old Faithful was in the laundry. I HATED when Old Faithful got a bath because I liked her smell. In hindsight, this makes me gag, and is so incredibly gross I cannot stand it!

Sadly, I don’t remember the last time I saw OF. I do, however, remember the last time I looked for her. OF lived in my room, waiting for naptime and good night time. (Because I was a Big Girl, my time with my blankie was limited to times when I sleeping.) I started my investigation in my room, but no luck. I understood this was not a good sign, but I had an ace up my sleeve- the secret hiding place. My mother used a kitchen cabinet that was too high (or so she thought) for me to reach as the secret lair for OF. I will not go into details about how I accessed the inside of that cabinet (some things remain trade secrets to this day), but OF was not there. Still, I was not totally without hope… I was sure my mom would know where OF was.  (Hopefully, she was not in the laundry.) I believed then, and I still do, that my mom knows everything (well, almost everything. I don’t think she knew I could access the secret cabinet). I tracked her down, and using my best five year old investigational skills, I inquired about OF’s whereabouts.  For good measure, I even used my most polite voice, my best manners, and I threw in a cute face.

“Gone”, came the answer, like a ton of bricks.

NONONONONONOOOOOOOO. This must be a mistake!

Where could she be? And why was my mother so blase about her whereabouts?!

To be fair, when I questioned my mom about her super mean judgement call, this is what she had to say: It was not an easy decision on my part but you were in kindergarten with front teeth that were going to make an orthodontist rich.

Touche on the teeth…

Puppy Love

Do you remember your special security lovey from when you were little? Mine was a blanket, named Old Faithful.  My mother threw Old Faithful away when I was five, and I am still a little (very) scarred.  She claims that the blanket was ripped to shreds; I think she was jealous of the love that Old Faithful and I shared.

Emma puppy2 Puppy Love

Emma & Puppy

My daughter’s lovey is named Puppy.  Her world begins and ends with Puppy.  (Which means mine- and my husband’s- also does). As a result, we have a LOVE-HATE relationship with Puppy, especially during moments of crisis.  We love love LOVE him when He can stop Emma from having a full blown shit fit. (I used to judge parents when their children had public meltdowns.  After a harrowing trip through Airport Security, I Learned To Stop Judging Others.) Because of his magical abilities, there is no replacing Puppy.  This is where hating Puppy comes into play… if Puppy is MIA, we are up the creek. And we don’t have a paddle.

Until recently, we imagined our worst nightmare as parents to be the “Night Without Puppy”.  In two years, we haven’t had one. Not one single Puppyless Night.  We had a couple of close calls, but have been able to deliver the goods—Puppy—every time.  We have a wonderful lady who watches Emma while I am at work.  Miss Sherri loves Emma like she is her own- and really, who wouldn’t love the adorable, perfect angel that is Emma? – and would do anything for her.  We left Puppy at her house one Friday after work, and didn’t realize it until Emma was ready to read her bedtime story.  Thirty six (seriously) frantic phone calls, twenty five minutes, and one hysterical little girl later, Miss Sherri came flying into our driveway, Puppy in hand.  All four of us (Miss Sherri, Thomas, Emma, and I) were in tears.  We renewed our vow to Always Have Puppy At All Times again that evening- vows that we take as seriously as the vows we took before Church and State almost six years ago.

A couple of weeks ago, we were invited to a friend’s house for drinks.  For simplicity’s sake, we will call him “Mr. Bruce”.  We had a wonderful time, enjoying good company and delicious drinks.  We had such a whirlwind of a time that we didn’t notice we had left one of our own behind.  We didn’t notice, in fact, until it was bath time.  Casual questioning, “Where’s Puppy?” was replaced by frantic searching, “Puppy, where ARE YOU?”, which was replaced by the dreadful, sick stomach sinking realization that Puppy wasn’t at home with the rest of us.  Thomas and I quickly set up a strategy for dealing with the oncoming crisis, which we named Operation Save Puppy.  We were hopeful that we could contain the disaster, and that it would not progress into the Puppy Games, with only one man left standing at the end.  My first move was to phone stalk Mr. Bruce.  (I have only phone stalked one other person with such perseverance as I did Mr. Bruce.  His name was Cory, and he was a super cute Sigma Chi I met my sophomore year at IU.  We had gone out once, and I just knew he wanted to be my boyfriend! What I didn’t know was that he had caller ID… Life Lesson: Calling a boy more than twenty (yes, you read that correctly) times in one day is Not A Good Idea… especially when you have a class that meets four times a week with that potential boyfriend as it makes for a rather awkward semester (of course I did that in the first month of school)…) Six phone calls in five minutes did not gain us any ground in Operation Save Puppy.  Because I know Mr. Bruce, I know that he will sometimes put his phone on silent, which renders him as good as dead to the rest of the world.  In an attempt to escalate our defense, I dispatched Thomas to go to Mr. Bruce’s house.  How fast he drove, how many traffic laws were broken, is not an important part to this narrative. Thomas made record time to Mr. Bruce’s, but to no avail.  Mr. Bruce wasn’t home, and because he lives in a gated community, Thomas was unable to park in front of his house and wait for him to return home.  When Thomas called with an update—no entrance—he did not take my suggestion to break into the community by scaling the fence, waiting for a neighbor to come home and sneak in behind them, or to call random names on the directory to see if someone would buzz him in. (I sort of questioned his dedication to the cause at that point, to be totally honest.).  We had to face the music: we were going Puppyless…

puppy 300x224 Puppy Love

Hostage Puppy

To her GREAT credit (and possibly our superior parenting skills?!), Emma did a great job that night. (Also, she was so tired she couldn’t see straight, so that helped.) We deployed “Puppy Number Two” as a stand in, and, along with Corduroy the bear, she slept through the night. 

The next morning, she was having none of it. We were awoken to her best attempt at negotiations skills…

“Mommy I need your help!”

“I need Puppy Number One!”

“Puppy, where are you?”

Again, because I know Mr. Bruce, I knew he had been awake for at least two hours that day; Thomas was again dispatched on Operation Rescue Puppy.  (He was also instructed that drinking Bloody Marys with Mr. Bruce wasn’t part of our overall strategy, and to HURRY home with the precious cargo.) He made record time, and was back, triumphantly carrying Puppy on his shoulder.  Things had deteriorated in our house while he was gone.  Emma wasn’t buying “Puppy is on vacation! At the beach! Just like Mommy and Daddy!”, and had been in tears since I had gotten her out of her crib.  When she heard the magical sounds of the car pulling in, she dashed to the door, where she formed her own Welcome Home Puppy committee.

Emma puppy Puppy Love

We vow to Always Have Puppy In Emma's Hands At All Times

We all learned several lessons that day.  Emma proved herself, yet again, to be an easy going, flexible, delightful little girl (which is great, because I don’t think my husband could handle two difficult, always-my-way sort of gals.) We survived the night without Puppy, and lived to tell.  And, we again revowed to never let it happen again!

Note: I know you are saying to yourself, why don’t they just buy ten Puppys to have as back up? Trust me- we so would if we could.  Puppy was part of a Valentine’s Day gift Emma received when she was four months old.  He was a $1.99 Walgreens special for the holiday, and so isn’t stocked regularly.  Internet searches haven’t proven fruitful either…