Yes, Coco, my 5 year-old’s beloved bear and best buddy, is getting old. If one year equals seven for a dog, I think a much-loved stuffed animal’s one year must equal about twenty.
Truth be told, I wasn’t crazy about Coco when he first joined us. He wasn’t one of the soft and fluffy stuffed animals I’d received when Will was born, but more of a sock monkey-type, sort of cute, but in a not-so-cuddly way. Will certainly thought differently, and as soon as he could reach out and grab things, Coco was right next to him at nap and bed times. Five years later, nothing has changed. Well, except for the gaping holes in Coco’s back. And now, just like Woody (you know the one), Coco has been shelved. And Will is pretty much okay with it. Me? Not so much.
With every bit of Coco’s stuffing I pick up off the floor, I think of one more way that Will is growing up, and way too quickly for my liking. All in one week, he learned to swim, ride a two-wheeled bike, blow a bubble, and spend the night at a friend’s house, with nary a glance back as he ran through their front door. I just knew I’d get a call from the friend’s parents later that night telling us that Will wanted us to come pick him up. But as Coco and I lay on Will’s bed, waiting for the phone to ring, that call never came.
And now we are here in the month that seemed so far away – September. The first day of kindergarten. I can’t even bring myself to put my typical exclamation marks after those sentences. I actually got teary-eyed while shopping for school supplies. I have no idea how I’ll hold myself together at the bus stop (and the sadness will only be partly due to the ungodly hour that darned yellow tin thing rolls through the neighborhood). Of course he’ll be fine and love his new adventure, and we’ll all adjust and move on to the next phase. You seasoned moms and dads are certainly chuckling, and probably reciting that awful phrase that has haunted me ever since a random stranger said it as I wrestled with trays of trash, half-consumed milk jugs to go, and two kids to get back into the car as we headed to grandma’s house: “Little kids, little problems. Big kids, big problems.” Ugh.
For now, our big problem continues to be Coco’s plight and whether a patch or another line of stitches might do the trick and get him back off the shelf in time for the night before school starts. It’s time to call the surgeon.
To all you other new-to-school moms and dads out there, stay strong! And don’t forget the camera (and tissues!) as you dash out to the bus stop! (Hey, look at that! My exclamation points are back!)