For a long time, my 8-year old son has slept with three stuffed animals: a seal, a dog, and a teddy bear. Being the creative sort, he gave them unconventional names. The seal was called “Seal-y.” The dog was “Puppy.” The bear was “Bear-y Bear.” (OK. Maybe they're not that original.)
However, a few nights ago, I got a surprise when I tucked him in.
“Dad, I don’t want to sleep with Sealy anymore.”
‘Why not? You love Sealy.”
“Well, I’m eight now and growing up. It’s time to put Sealy away.”
I was stunned. The trio of animals had been his friends for so long. “Are you sure?” I asked. “Do you really want to break up the group?”
He nodded. “Yes, it’s time. I’ll put Sealy away now. When I turn 10, I’ll put away Puppy. When I’m 12, then I’ll put away Beary Bear.”
I asked again if he was sure and he confirmed he was, so I picked up Sealy and held it up to my son, who gave it a last kiss. I then put Sealy on the other bed in his room, staring at his former charge from a distance.
I went back downstairs and told my wife the news. Sealy had been demoted. She was as stunned as I. However, we figured it was only matter of time. The little guy was getting bigger.
The following night, I put Sealy on the other bed again, said goodnight, and tucked him in. It was a sad time.
The following night I got home late. He was already in bed. When I went to check on him, I got a shock. Sealy was back with the trio.
Since that night, Sealy has continued to be a part of the group. It’s as if the growing up has been forgotten.
And I’m happy to have him be little just a little while longer.