Every Christmas these little guys and their compadres make the trek downstairs and settle in under the black Labrador retriever angel-topped tree to observe our comings and goings, to be among us for awhile, and to serve as stand-ins for the innocence in the world that is so often wounded, unprotected, and has such a soft, small voice.
Oh sure. On a conscious level I understand they are only bits of fabric and fluff. But just try to handle one of them roughly, or to keep from smiling when you hold the stuffed bear with his beer gut wearing a “Hug Freely” t-shirt. Can’t do it. They call forth tenderness.
And every year I wonder, “Oh little guys, where will we gather next year? Will it be here in this edenic wood? Or will we be portable, off on some exploratory archipelago-hopping adventure?
Keep your Snoopy-in-the-sky heart sunshades on, sweetness. Dishes, tables, beds, desks, lamps and chairs may go into cold storage, but not you, not your friends.
You will travel with us wherever we go; reminders of home’s core, children we love (of all ages, for are we not all children?), the evergreen innocence of love, and our own inner child which must be protected so we can continue to grow.
Dedicated to my beloved sister, Flo, on her birthday. She inspires me with her dedication to her family and her art, her gift for loving, and her wisdom. She is ageless.