When life throws you lemons, thank it for the snack

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A Little Giraffe Makes a Big Difference

This is Jerry. He is a stuffed giraffe. He doesn't normally wear a hat, but he (okay, I) was feeling whimsical that day. I bought Jerry on a whim in the midst of the emotional storm that started out 2014, things that I've mentioned on previous blog posts this summer. He seemed to be just the right size for hugs, something that I desperately needed when I was kicked out of my marriage bed and made to sleep alone after 12+ years of sharing a bed with that person. Honestly, that was the only motivation behind buying Jerry. It was early February, so he has a heart pattern on his left hind leg--you can almost see it in the picture. Because he's not a teddy bear or a frog (I guess it's the whole "Frog Prince" thing), he's not really a "Valentine's Day" animal. That was the reason I chose him over the other standard V-Day animals available. He just seemed to stand out and he was the only giraffe.

Unfortunately, Jerry came home on a bad night. I was trying to be nice by giving that 'male who used to share my marriage bed' time with his paramour (I was trying to be open-minded and accommodating). It was a Monday, a school night. I kept my daughter out an hour past her bed time. We got home and she was still there. I blew up in a way that I never have before because I was livid that their inconsideration was interfering with my daughter's health, sleep patterns, and education. My daughter saw my face and I quietly told her to go to her room. She shut her door and climbed into her bed, clutching Jerry tightly, afraid of what might happen as I unleashed my Momma Bear wrath--and I was holding back, too, otherwise I might have done some physical damage to certain individuals. I'm not happy that my daughter was afraid of me. She now understands that my anger is incurred when I feel someone or something poses a threat to her and that I don't get angry with her.

Jerry proved to be just the right size for the hugs I needed. It can actually be quite uncomfortable for me to sleep on my side without something to hold on to (i.e. hug) because everything gets all squished together. Hugs have also been proven (you can find the research, I'm not going to do the work for you right now) to have psychological benefits, even if the hug comes from an inanimate object. There are times when my daughter snags Jerry from me because he really is the perfect hug generator. I originally got upset and jealous, but then something magical seemed to happen. As "the fit hit the shan" and stressor after stressor piled up in our lives, as we encountered all of the changes that result from divorce and moving--new job, unemployment and job hunting, new school, new church, new home city, leaving behind our community and friends--Jerry started to become much more than a random stuffed giraffe that was purchased on a whim. My daughter infused him with a childlike personality that just makes both of us smile. It's hard to look at Jerry now without thinking of his simple wonder and joy. Apparently, he thinks shoes are cars, "saying" vroom, vroom as he tries to push them around the floor (with my daughter's help, of course). He also seems to think cell phones are brownies and likes to "nom, nom" on just about anything. My daughter claims that he likes pie. He is a self-proclaimed "huggle monster" and a master hugger. Any time he falls on the floor during the night he is exploring. He likes to go on adventures, but doesn't get out much because he's a little big for a purse, so he has many adventures at home. Sometimes Jerry gets to go out; he's gone to the movies and Chuck E. Cheese's and he got to ride in a washing machine and dryer. His best friend is the stuffed Oswald the Luck Rabbit we found at a Disney outlet store. If you follow me on Twitter [@eowyn35], then you've seen some of Oswald's adventures at Disney World. Jerry isn't jealous of Oswald because they both "share" their adventures with each other.

Jerry doesn't "bring home the bacon" and he is not able to do much in reality without our imagination and assistance. However, I'm much happier with him in our lives. His personality keeps us light-hearted so that we always keep in touch with innocent wonder. I am not deprived of hugs even when my human interaction is lacking. It's also hard to maintain any kind of negative feelings with him around. Just look at that face. Wouldn't you have a hard time smiling, at least on the inside?

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