My kids are all grown now, as anyone who reads this Blog regularly knows. But there was a time, years ago, when it seemed that they would never get to this point. The house was completely run over with Legos, Little People, crayons and bed friends.
One of the best bed friends that any of them possessed, in my humble opinion, was the "favorite animal." You know, as in Theresa and her elephants or Paul and his dragons.
Yeah, those bed friends...the ones that completely took over each and every bed in the house ~ except the one where Mike and I sleep. And that, I am sure, was just mere coincidence...if we had let them they would have taken over our space, as well.
Every year at Christmastime I would scour the toy stores and catalogs looking for the perfect additions to each collection, and sometimes it seemed to take months before each new member of the various menageries was found. I even had my sister Linda in on the act, for a few years, as she was totally into gathering Beanie Babies for her own daughter Amy. She would find extras for me and I would pay her back for her trouble ~ more than once driving over to her house, just to pick up that perfect turtle (Clare) or pig (Julia).
And that was just the tip of the iceberg.
Beanie Babies, fortunately, were relatively small, as bed friends go...there were many many that took up completely the corners of the beds to which they were assigned.
One year, when they were really young, I spent many late nights in a row, sitting up til all hours, stitching together two Care Bears (for Paul and Mary), because when money started getting tight, and the chosen characters were nearly impossible to find in the stores, I bought a pattern that showed all ten of the then-known "tummies" and went to work. Let me just say that "Birthday" and "Cheer" Bears never looked better than they did on that Christmas morning all those many years ago...
If I had a chance, I would love to go back in time and see just how many bed friends (and how much money, lol) I had spread about the house. I would be willing to wager that it would be at least a couple of hundred of them ~ when you multiply eight children and add up all the years they spent collecting them ~ yep, that's alot of animals!
Yesterday, Mike & I were walking through the grocery store & I paused when we came to a display of short, fat little animals ~ and wouldn't you know it, right up front, there were elephants & penguins...perfect for Theresa & Laura. Mike said, "Aren't you going to get some?" to which I replied, "They cleaned out their 'stash' a while ago, but if they were still collecting, I would absolutely do it!"
Now, as I move about, occasionally I will notice something that will bring these critters back to the forefront of my mind...as in the bunnies that live in our backyard, scurrying across the lawn, reminding me of Stephen's penchant for rabbits as a young boy. He has long since stopped getting worked up over every mammal sighted in the yard, but I still remember his reaction ~ and I always will.
When Mary was a baby, her Grandpa Andy bought her her first lamb ~ because as we all know, every Mary has a little lamb, right? And to this day, that lamb (even tho' she has acquired dozens of them since) holds a place of honor in her own home. This is the one that had fallen out of her crib one morning (as I recall @ about 7:00 *yawn*) and she climbed out of her "confinement", toddled into our bedroom, where I lay there fast asleep, and woke me up, angrily demanding why I had let "Lambie-Poo" sleep on her floor all night! Why wasn't I up already, putting it back into her crib?!? What was wrong with me!? So, of course, I dutifully crawled out of bed, went to her room, replaced the errant critter & then put my daughter back to bed, where she promptly fell back to sleep & I, her drowsy parent, was left wide awake, back under my own covers, staring at the ceiling ~ wondering why, if she had been able to crawl out of bed, was I forced to retrieve it? I guess a two-year-old has no sense of the obvious...
And then, we can't forget all the picnics & parties in the living room, now, can we? ...blankets spread everywhere, monkeys (Andrea), polar bears (Laura), you-name-its & every animal under the bright yellow sun, all there in that one space, dozens upon dozens of them...having a real jolly time...and of course, the kids enjoying it even more, lol.
There are so many memories of our little "zoo" here that I cannot put them all to words in this one simple post...but if I could, I would happily recall each and every moment as I sit here. I guess it only remains for the kids to take up their own individual favorites and keep their own recollections in their own hearts...and far be it from me to spoil the fun. ;)