It hasn't even been a week since my last post which mentioned my fear of causing pain in my children's lives and I've already messed up big time. Prior to Mimzy, I didn't understand the bond that can exist between human and stuffed animal. I may have scoffed or even laughed at a such a post lamenting the gross disfigurement of an animal of the fake variety. I don't remember owning a stuffed animal and even made fun of some of my friends who collected them. But because I know how much Emmy loves her, I love her too.
Emmy received Mimzy more than 4 years ago for her 5th birthday. Since then, she has only suffered through 9 nights without her arms wrapped around and cheek resting next to or on her. I know it was exactly 9 nights because these 9 occasions did not pass without hiccuping tears. Mimzy has also been Emmy's companion during any movie promising even the slightest hint of scariness.
Due to the fact that Mimzy has been so well loved, cuddled and slobbered on, she has required washing every few months. Until today, she has always emerged from the dryer a new and improved Mimzy....always a little whiter, fluffier, and smelling like a Mountain Fresh Tide. Emmy had been requesting me to wash her for several days and today, pleased with myself for remembering, placed her in the washer with my load of whites.
I caught Mimzy staring at me (in hindsight, she was more likely pleading with me to free her from the infernal rotating chamber) during a lull in the spin cycle and I jokingly mentioned to Emmy that I thought Mimzy looked a little sad in there. When I emancipated her from the wash and began the transfer to the dryer, I could tell instantly that Mimzy was indeed sad, for her innards and her outards had been cooked. In my rush to do nothing but rush through my dreaded chores, I had switched my load of whites to Sanitize, which apparently means that the bacteria, odors, microscopic animal life and stuffed animal 'life' will be subjected to unsurvivable hot temperatures. Her stuffing had shrunk to an undetectable size and Mimzy appeared to have been gutted. Her long, luscious coat of fine fur was now shriveled, matted, and tight. My heart became shriveled and tight. I longed, just like Cher (this is the only time I will admit to sharing any emotion with Cher), to turn back time....and turn that dial a few clicks to the left....to the delicate cycle.
A friend was over and I knew I had to wait to show Emmy what I had done. I sat and sulked for the next hour wondering how I could switch myself to delicate cycle in order to ease Emmy's pain....knowing at some level that this was one of those times that I really couldn't do anything but be by her side. When the friend left, I led Emmy into the laundry room. Desperate, deep, and choking sobs erupted and lasted for a few hours. I sat her down on the couch, held her, and cried a little myself. I had a Deja Vu moment remembering a time my mother had held me while I sobbed into her lap. I was much older (yeah, older than 20) and I don't remember much of what she said. I just remember her being there. And that was all that she could do. And it was all I needed.