Flashback Friday: Not Your Average Pig

My helpful "Edit Posts" page informs me that I have not done a Flashback Friday since October 22, 2010.  (What!?  How has it been that long!?)  It feels like just yesterday I wrote the post entitled "Flashback Friday: The weight of the world lifting off my shoulders". As it turns out, it was the perfect foreshadowing of what was to come. As I reflected on how great it felt to pass the Engineer-In-Training Exam, in a week's time I found out what it felt like to take the Professional Engineer Exam, and in a few months time I would come to find out how great it felt to pass it.

So basically, what I'm saying is, Flashback Fridays make good things happen.

Maybe.  Maybe not.

At any rate, I'm back with more.  You missed them, right?  (You don't have to answer that.)

This week, our middle child, Abby, has been spending some coveted time at Grammie & Grandaddy's house.  It's a rarity for her to go anywhere alone without a sage-like big brother or pesky little sister, and I know she's been enjoying every minute of grandparently spoiling.  The thing is, we've been missing her here.  She is...how do I say...the life of the party.  Things just aren't quite the same without our lively Abby around to keep us giggling.  This isn't to say Ben & Sarah aren't fun and precious - but without Abby - we're just not quite complete.

Ben has missed her the most, and while we were eating dinner tonight, he informed us that he had surprised Abby by straightening up the furniture in her dollhouse and making her a sign for her bedroom door.  He told me what it said.  "Welcome Home, Princess.  Love, Ben XOXO"

It brought tears to my eyes.  He thinks of her as his princess.  I love that.

Ben has kept the sweet, tear-evoking hits coming this week.

Yesterday he volunteered to move a cart out of the road at Target after watching half a dozen other customers and Target employees pass right by it.  It was a small, albeit wonderful exhibit of the fact that he just cares enough to want to do the right thing.

A few days ago, after spontaneously deciding to organize his top bunk from a chaotic heap of books, covers, stuffed animals, pillows, and action figures to a slightly more orderly heap of the same, he walked out of his room with an armful of stuffed toys that he wanted to donate.  The fact that he voluntarily donates toys is wonderful enough to bring tears to my eyes, but what was in the pile of giveaways nearly took my breath away.

The pigs.

And thus begins the tale o' Piggy.

Before Ben was even born, we got a stuffed pig from one of my dearest friends.  As many commonly do with stuffed toys, we put it in the stuffed toy net in the corner of his room and didn't think about it until he was older than a newborn.  I don't remember how it came to pass, but this cute stuffed pig became our firstborn's chosen security item.  We all know that "lovies" are not at all uncommon in kids.

I had a blankie when I was little.  Three of them to be exact.  Still have them actually.  I recently tried to convince each of my kids to sleep with one in an attempt to force sentimentality on them.  Ben obliged and humored me for a night or two.  The girls outright refused.  So much for that.

The pig became a constant companion for Ben.  He has swapped more saliva with that pig than I suspect he ever will in his entire dating and married life combined.  He began by sucking on the tail.  Then he chewed on the ears.  Then he graduated to the snout.  Barely a year had passed when Sam and I looked at Piggy, who had already been mended multiple times across the snout and lost probably half of the tiny little beads that filled him, and realized he wasn't going to make it much longer.

We panicked.

We googled.

And we found it!  (Okay, fine.  Sam found it.  But you already knew that, didn't you?)

We ordered three more.  (They were very reasonably priced.)

We thought we were sooooo smart.  "Haha, Ben will never know the difference.  We can swap them out while we clean/repair/fumigate the others."

And for a little while, the facade worked.  Until Ben developed a preference for one of the four pigs' tails.  It was a bit curlier than the others and he could identify it by touch alone in about a millisecond.

My clever husband solved this problem by applying scissors to one of the other pig's tails to make it feel similar.  And that was satisfactory enough for the finicky Benjamin.  (I will pause right here to remind everyone that this was our firstborn.  You do things differently with them.  Just sayin'.  Some day he may forgive us for coddling him.  Then again, he might never recover.  Time will tell.)

So we were back down to two pigs.  The Chosen Two.

One of which has been sitting on the laundry room sink for months waiting to get the Hamburger Helper stain off of it.  Pitiful, isn't it?

The non-chosen two are the ones that made it into the donate pile.  And yet, I still find myself getting sniffly over them.  Perhaps, I am the one with the sentimental attachment to his Piggies.  I just feel that if he's giving over the non-chosen two, the others are soon to follow.  (And then the entire Toy Story 3 movie plays out in my mind - starring Ben - my firstborn.  I'm not ready for him to go to college!  -sigh- I can hear Sam's words now.  "Jennie, he's only seven.  Relax.")

As far as I'm concerned, Piggy is a part of this family.  (Any and all of them.)


See what I mean?

One last Piggy memory before I contact Guiness for the Longest Blog Post about a Stuffed Animal award.

This comes from my 2nd ever "Mom Things"...a true story:

You've been in this predicament: searching up and down the side of the highway at 2am with a flashlight for a stuffed pig (Piggy, as it were) that may have been left atop the vehicle you rode off in that evening, only to find it in serious disrepair on the shoulder where the pavement meets the grass. After bringing it home, you put your sewing and stain-removing skills to the ultimate test...and pass...with flying colors. You know, or something less specific, but equally heroic with respect to your child's beloved "lovey". (This was actually a *Dad* one, but it totally counts. Love you, Sam.)

No matter what happens to The Chosen Two, whether tomorrow or 11 years from now when Ben heads off to college, it's bittersweet to realize that my boy is growing up.  The bitter part is leaving all of those innocent, precious memories behind.  The sweet part is that I love what I see him becoming.  He's the kind of son a mother is proud to have.  I can't wait to see all the new memories that are in store for him and us...with or without Piggy.  I am so blessed to be his mom. 

And, shoot, it's kind of cool being Piggy's mom too.

Have a very blessed weekend, everyone! 

And if you have a growing boy (or girl) who seems to be growing a little too quickly, give him an extra hug from me.  It won't slow them down, but it sure won't hurt.


Lindsay said...

This is one of my favorite posts so far.. and I am an avid reader of your posts. So sweet! I love all of the pics too! You must be such a wonderful mother Jennie!

Debbie said...

I read this one with a lump in my throat because I understand it completely. We tried the switcheroo with Laura's "baby" (a Puffalump that used to be a mouse) but she always knew it was a fake. I think we waited too long.

Baby is now a rag student at Mercer University.

I have yet to see TS3 because it came out just as "they" were headed to college and I knew that I couldn't take it.

Ben is just adorable in all those pictures, and you and Super Sam are such a wonderful team. Around here, we say, "Put them in a closet with a brick on their heads."

And for the record, I really did miss Flashback Friday!!

Diane said...

Love it. And for the record, I did cry at TS3.

I had a friend who did the switcheroo, and when her daughter Susan discovered it, "Sam" the doll suddenly had a brother, "Mas", from Australia, who was visiting him. Susan was thrilled.

for us, it's a stuffed cheetah that Sabrina loves... it's been mended more times than I can mention. It's dirty. It's battered. But I think she just might take it to college with her.

Cara R. said...

Ok This one made me tear up. Zane turned 3 yesterday and I'm just not ready for him to grow up this fast!! I'm going to go hug my baby now before he turned into a man!

CLewis said...

This one makes me tear up and my oldest is only 4!!! And while everyone else was tearing up at the toys almost being incinerated in Toy Story 3, I too got sentimental at the scene that reminded me that my "baby" will one day be leaving (again, he is only 4!).

My husband has done the drive to the park in the dark with flash light in hand searching parking lot and garbage cans for a lovie. And only to find it tucked in brother's top bunk days later! Oh, what we will do for those precious little people:)

Sharon Kirby said...

Oh Jennie - COL - crying out loud. You have summed up so perfectly the tug/pull of motherhood - tears at how quickly they grow up, and pride at who they're becoming!

I can't wait to see Son #1, 28 and Son #2, 24 - they're getting the BIGGEST hug ever (even though they're all grown up - they never quite will be in my eyes!).

I still have their "buddies" from childhood - I have a feeling that the "Chosen Ones" will make it. Otherwise, you just keep them - you have to - you're Piggy Mom (OK - that didn't sound right at all!!)

For the record, I still have Snippy, a stuffed animal elephant. He'll be 56 this year. He's worse for wear, yes - but I think he's like the Velveteen Rabbit - alive indeed!


LOVE your flashback Fridays. And p.s - Sam's such a keeper!

Anonymous said...

Please do not give away a single Piggy!! One day he'll get a kick out of the pig family!! Wonderful blog. Wonderful parents. Wonderful children. Wonderful feelings from sharing life with you. Anonymous Grammie xoxoxo

Canadagirl said...

I LOVED the piggy(ies) story. *grin* I bought all my 4 boys a special stuffy on their first birthdays. My son who is now married still has his Barney. [0= They do grow up but you know what they are still the same little boy inside.

Blessings In Him<><

Denise said...

What a wonderful post! I can so related as BOTH of my girls (now 26 and 22) had lovies. "B" the worn out teddy bear went to college and now lives with my newly married daughter. (What's left of him any way). Kathryn had three blankets. Two, alike, were baby doll blankets of MINE when I was a child. We were so happy to have two because we'd tried the switcheroo with her big sister. (It didn't work).The other was her crib comforter that was named Ducky. (It had ducks on it...) Well, we lost one blanket. The second got "loved" away. (I have a scrap left). The third went to Mercer for a while, but now sits in her closet at home. :(

SO, I say keep the piggies! Mom needs them. Your wonderful son is certainly growing into a fine boy. I can't wait to watch him in the years ahead.

Denise said...

One more small tidbit...I still have the blanket I used as a child. I started to take it to the dumpster last week but couldn't! (It's still in my truck). It's only 50ish.

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