Stuffed Love

Which is very unlike a stuffed shirt, by the way… ¬†ūüėõ

Tonight, I snuggled up with several feather pillows and my extra-large white bear that was given to me by my paternal grandparents when I was probably only single-digits years old, and watched¬†Frozen, while sitting (or lying) on my bed. ¬†And it was delightful. ¬†I don’t know why people let go of stuffed animals and piles of pillows in their adulthood. ¬†Even in college, I had several stuffed animals with me at school.

The year I lived in an apartment with a friend of mine (still campus housing, but an apartment, nonetheless), we had full sized beds as part of the furnishings. ¬†A different friend was staying the night, and, as we were getting into bed to go to sleep, she thought it was hilarious yet adorably wonderful that I had stuffed animals in my bed, their having clearly been my nighttime snuggle buddies so far that year. ¬†She, delighted, declared it like “a jungle!”, and snapped a photo of me snuggling in with the animals. ¬†Of course, I made total room for her in the bed, and it wasn’t crowded for us or anything. ¬†But, when I didn’t have physical company in my bed, I preferred having stuffed company to being on my own with the sheets.

To this day, I like to feel that¬†something is around me when I sleep. ¬†When I get to sleep in a bed with a person, some small piece of me has to touch that person, in order for me to sleep fully at ease. ¬†When there isn’t a person, I just like having contact with something presence-marking. ¬†These days, that typically means a stuffed dog strewn across my thighs, and my arms casually relaxed across my rib cage, creating just enough pressure for comfort and subconscious reassurance… ¬†Perhaps it was because I grew up with siblings always around, older than I, and so I always wanted to sleep in¬†their beds with¬†them…, because they were my older siblings and I loved them and looked up to them. ¬†And then, when they weren’t around, I ended up sharing the bed with my mom or my dad, depending on in whose house I was staying that night. ¬†(Apparently, I wasn’t supposed to stay in my dad’s bed, because of the divorce stuff, but, with my active history of terrible nightmares as a child, I voluntarily would creep down to his bedroom and sneak onto the side of the California king. ¬†Sometimes he noticed before morning, but I made enough of a fuss about not wanting to be alone upstairs, and he was half asleep, anyway, so he let it go. ¬†Naturally, my mom was annoyed at this, so I kind of just stopped telling her about it. ¬†It wasn’t even an every night thing, either, but, when I needed it, I needed it, you know? ¬†And then it was just habit and comforting, even when I didn’t need it anymore.)

By the time it really didn’t bother me so much to sleep on my own, and the nightmares had mostly subsided, my sisters moved into my dad’s house. ¬†And, just as part of spending time together, I ended up often sleeping in the one sister’s bed, and then always sleeping in the other’s, once she moved in, too. ¬†We always had a habit of talking after the lights were out, kind of just chatting about anything or nothing – whatever we wanted or needed that night. ¬†It wasn’t usually for very long – maybe five or ten minutes at most – but it was always something I loved, and something I didn’t want to miss out on having by sleeping elsewhere. ¬†There were even the occasions where we all three shared a bed together… those were really great memories for me. ¬†I was literally surrounded by love for me.

Perhaps that’s really why I want stuffed animals in my bed, or pillows, or the touch of someone…, because that is one of the strongest memories I have of being loved and wanted and appreciated and cared for… surrounded by love as I went to sleep at night.

Ha… I’m noticing now how, even at dance events, when we occasionally have crammed three grown people into a queen sized bed, I’ve been totally okay and comfortable with it, and even delighted about it. ¬†The physical presence represents so strongly for me the experience of love, of being loved. ¬†I guess that all goes back to growing as a baby in the womb, huh? ¬†We turn to the fetal position in times of extreme need for love and help… that feeling of being held all around by a safe, loving, omnipotent source of life. ¬†So…, yeah… I’m beginning to think that stuffed animals are more than okay and acceptable – they’re actually a really good idea. ¬†They can help to provide the comfort that we can’t seem to provide on our own, when no one else is physically – or emotionally – around us…

Yeah…

Post-a-day 2020

Memories

My cousin and I were talking tonight about old, old memories in our lives.

Growing up, I had a situation that was incredibly unique at the time (and that still is a bit unique nowadays), in which my parents each had children from a previous spouse, only had me together, married when I was three, and divorced one another when I was four.

My siblings on my mom’s side not only lived in the same neighborhood as I did, but my mom and I were regularly at their dad’s house, spending time with them and, even, their dad, who was my mom’s first husband, but with whom my mom was no longer involved in such a relationship.

My siblings on my dad’s side moved to Georgia (until they kind of moved back, off and on, one by one, starting when I was about nine), and so were only around for certain holidays and for what I guess to have been about a month each summer.

My cousin pointed out that she remembered being often at the place my mom and I lived for many years together after she split up from my dad, the one that was in the neighborhood with my brothers and their dad.

I, too, recalled that they often were there visiting us, and we often were at their house (two hours away, by the way) visiting them.

She then presented the interesting and confounding concept of accepting the idea of someone seeing one’s cousins more often than seeing one’s own siblings…, because that’s really how it was in the first decade and a half of my life, so far as my mom’s sister’s children and my dad’s children were concerned.

I have many more memories from earlier childhood with those cousins than I do with my siblings on my dad’s side.

Certainly, I saw my brothers from my mom all the time, almost daily…, but my cousins were, as I can pull up old school activities and projects to show, some of my favorite people in the world, and they were often on my mind, because I saw them often…, such was not the case with my siblings on my dad’s side.

Sure, I cared about them, and I had spectacular memories from the brief time we all spent in the same house when my parents were married to one another, but I really think we could say that I had more a relationship with and attitude towards them that people have with cousins, rather than one with siblings.

So, my half brothers were like my brothers, my cousins were like my half siblings, and my other half siblings were like my cousins… relationship- and attitude-wise, anyway.

Kind of crazy, huh?

I hadn’t really ever thought much about it, because, as my cousin also pointed out tonight, it can be amazing what kinds of things we just accept as children, not concerned in the least about whether they are uncommon or absurd.

I guess the absurdity doesn’t surprise me, of course, because, well, even now, absurd is normal in my life, as this same cousin so graciously pointed out to me a few years ago. ūüėõ

Post-a-day 2019