My little one -- my youngest -- was about a year and a half old when my mother gave her a little “beanie baby” lion. The lion was promptly named “Cassie” after a character on one of her favorite television programs. Cassie became my youngest daughter’s lovie – a transitional object. That little beanie baby was her constant companion, going everywhere with her. She slept with Cassie, she ate with Cassie, Cassie rode to church in my pocketbook or Daddy’s pocket. Cassie helped her through her first year in pre-school, doctor visits, long car rides and thunderstorms. After 18 months, Cassie became a little ragged and shopworn. I had to repair her tail and ears and she became a little “deflated” because she leaked some of the plastic beads that filled her up.
While shopping one day, I found another Cassie – a beanie baby that was exactly like our beloved lovie. Thinking it would serve as a “spare backup Cassie” – a just in case sort of thing, I bought it. However my little one saw the new spare backup Cassie in the back of the car and thought I was so thoughtful to buy Cassie a twin – a nice clean twin with no repairs. Now Cassie would never, ever be lonely. She named the new beanie baby – Cassie.
Cassie and Cassie slept with her every night. Over the next few years there were some emergency rescues – one fell into a toilet, we left one at a McDonald’s on the way home from Florida and had to drive an hour back to get her. One was dropped in the parking lot at my husband’s mother’s funeral – we went back to get her and she had been run over and was a little flattened and soiled. I sat in the lobby of the funeral home and held my little one and we cried together – for the loss of my mother-in-law and for Cassie.
Over the next couple of years, my little one developed a passion for anything with lions. We now have lion blankets, stuffed animals, cookie jars, books, pajamas, coloring books and even a lion cat-nip holder for Little Kitty. My little one would put all the lion stuff in her twin bed and crawl in. I would lose her amid all the lions – nothing showing but a mop of curls. This went on for several years. Recently however I have noticed a trend. Most of the lions have been placed in the toy chest. A few at a time, they have been moved away until the only ones left in the bed with my daughter are Cassie and Cassie. I asked her why the other night. With her 8 year old wisdom she said, “Mama, those lions are just stuff. Only Cassie and Cassie are real.”
Only Cassie and Cassie are real. One day I know Cassie and Cassie will be put aside as well. I wonder what she will keep in her heart then? I hope that she will keep the love that was given to her when my mother gave her the first Cassie. I hope she will hold onto the memory of arms around her as she cried. I hope that she remembers to keep only the things that are real. Things like love and comfort during sorrow and having something to hold onto during the scary times in life.
Here is a picture of my little one, holding Cassie and Cassie and friend Unicorn at Granddaddy's wedding this Christmas. I understand she looks a lot like me...