My son's stuffed dog came with an exclusive pedigree: my son, Reeve, won him at the giant prize wheel three years ago at the Bellevue Art and Crafts fair and immediately dubbed him Yellow Puppy.
Yellow Puppy instantly became a member of our family. This humble canine has been hit by a car, attended kindergarten, broken valuables, submitted a Christmas list and spawned a series of comic books featuring his alter ego, Super X. Occasionally over the years, Yellow Puppy has disappeared for a little quality "me" time, always reappearing refreshed.
Until he didn't.
After a long and fruitless search this spring, we began trying to prepare Reeve for the inevitability that Yellow Puppy was gone. We dispensed platitudes about responsibility and loss, hoping that detachment would be as easy as attachment.
Reeve seemed remarkably sanguine — until he started chewing his sleeve and asking to move. Now. Why? Because "You find anything you lose in your house when you move." Uh-oh.
Two months passed, and then one day Reeve produced a plastic bag holding a bit of white fluff. "Today is Yellow Puppy's funeral. I have a very special ceremony planned." I was happy to see that he seemed ready to move on. My promises of gussied-up pancakes deflected further funeral planning. Luckily, my procrastination prevented me from having to take a position on resurrection.
But then, a miracle did happen.
In a fit of uncharacteristic spring cleaning, my husband, older son and I found Yellow Puppy. We started to plan a reunion so memorable that Reeve would feel compelled to recount it to his children and grandchildren. For three weeks, Yellow Puppy eavesdropped on our scheming, glassy eyed and stiff with boredom.
Finally, on the last day of school before summer, it was time. There was a "knock" at the door, and I asked Reeve to answer it.
Reeve opened the door and squealed, "It's for me! Yellow Puppy is back!"
His older brother said, "Why is he wearing my Build-A-Bear's wizard hat and isn't that Reeve's necklace from Miss Linda's?"
He winced as Reeve calmly explained that Yellow Puppy took this outfit with him to "magic Hawaii," which is where he had been all this time. I stopped gouging my fingernails into the older boy's foot and immediately began to lay the verbal groundwork for the stuffed jet-setter's next extended vacation.
But not before suggesting that Yellow Puppy might really enjoy sharing our — I mean "his" — story at show and tell.
Heija Nunn lives on the Eastside: firstname.lastname@example.org