All I really ever needed to know about interpersonal relationships, I learned from a room of stuffed animals.
Stuffed animals are cuddly, give you a hug whether you think you need one or not, and don’t mind if you squeeze the stuffing out of them. They don’t laugh when you tell them you’re afraid of the dark—or when you confide other fears or insecurities.
They may not have the answers to all of your probing questions—more often than not, they don’t—but they always listen without judgment or condition. They look at you wide-eyed, hanging on your every word, and wishing you every success, whatever you choose to do.
When you build a fort out of blankets and pillows to hide away from the world and the stuff it throws at you, they are the ones—and sometimes the only ones—you let into that sphere. And, then again, if you just need your space while you work it out on your own, they understand that, too, and they respect it. They know you’ll come around, and, when you do, they’ll let you hug the stuffing out of them—just like old times.
Some stuffed animals you look upon with more fondness than others. Some have been with you from the moment you were born (I have a stuffed cat that was given to me at birth) and some have only entered your life recently. Some have a few holes, are missing buttons, are leaking stuffing, but you look beyond that to all they have given and continue to give you. Yes, there came a day that Mom could no longer mend the mending and fix the holes. We had to put Trixie, the pink kitty I’ve had all my life, into a box in the basement.
What does all this mean? Even when you reach that painful point that you must lay your friends to their final rest, you nevertheless feel blessed because of the fond memories you have of the ways they have touched your life—and the lives of others. Of the ways they make you laugh out loud and remind you not to sweat the small stuff.
So you see, all I ever needed to know about relationships, I learned from my stuffed animals.