When Zoe was about six months old, I met my friend E for dinner in Saint Paul. We had a lovely meal (we got to eat our food when it was hot and finish whole sentences and everything). Then we went to Half Price books to do some browsing. It was a lovely, grown up evening out.
I don’t remember whether I bought myself anything at Half Price Books. (Pro Tip: I had a six month old baby, so probably not.) But I do remember shopping for Zoe. I came home with a few board books and a few cloth books. One of them was shaped like a chick. I thought it was cute, and Zoe did, too.
Six and a half years later, Chickie is still around. She’s been through the wash; she’s fallen in the toilet; she’s traveled internationally; she’s transitioned from male to female; she’s been lost (and found) in our house and at church and at Grandma’s and out in the world; she’s been with Zoe through good times and bad; she’s soothed Zoe’s physical bumps and bruises and her emotional ones, too.
And after all that, our Chickie is just a bit worse for wear:
Chickie is no longer yellow. She is no longer fluffy. (Although, Pro Tip: This Chickie is the only acceptable Chickie because she is “fluffy on the side”.) She is not very clean, and if you put her to your nose–which, Pro Tip, is not recommended–she probably would not smell very good.
This is what love does. It uses us up, wears us out, rubs off all the bright color and fluff. It changes us.
But when Zoe looks at Chickie–at her worn out, worn down, gray and stinky Chickie–she sees comfort, and security, and peace. This is love’s work, too. It makes us better, makes us precious, gives us purpose. It gives us a new way of looking at the world.
Love well today, dear ones, and know that you are loved.
What was the most beloved object of your childhood?