Several months ago, my kids started borrowing stuffies from their friend A down the street. I don’t really know how or why it started, but first Jade had “Poofy” the puppy for a couple of weeks, and then he went home. Then other critters would come for short visits. I tried to keep track of which toys belonged to A, although sometimes they came home with things that A said they could keep (yeah, like they needed more toys) and I stopped keeping track.
Except when it came to Chippy.
When Jade brought Chippy home, Halia claimed “her” for herself. Chippy became her bedtime companion. She played with Chippy in the morning and showed her off to visitors. She took Chippy places, against my better judgement. Some nights, we couldn’t find Chippy, and Halia would cry a little. I’d give her another stuffie and promised we’d look for her in the morning. We’d find Chippy, in the bathroom, or under the dining table, or on the couch. And all was well.
I warned Halia that Chippy belonged to A, and that someday Chippy would have to go home. Chippy’s stay was granted a couple of extensions, since A truly is quite a generous girl.
But finally the day came when Chippy had to go home. I braced myself for the inevitable heartbreak.
It didn’t come.
Astonished, but happy at my daughter’s resilience, life carried on. For a week or so.
At that point, Chippy came back. Halia and Jade had gone to play at A’s house, and Chippy came home with them. Halia resumed sleeping with Chippy every night. At bedtime, I had to tuck them in just so, with Chippy’s head out of the covers. I had to give them each a hug and a kiss.
When Halia and Jade headed back over to A’s house to play on Tuesday afternoon, Halia had Chippy tucked under her arm.
“Are you sure you want to take Chippy back?” I asked her. She insisted, saying that she’d bring Chippy back home again at suppertime. But, of course, Chippy is still A’s stuffie, so Halia came home with her hands empty.
She was fine that night, and last night, too, but tonight she had a full-on breakdown. She was very clearly heartbroken, with tears pouring down her cheeks, and sobbing between words. I tried to remind her that Chippy was not her toy to keep.
“But I really, really want her,” she cried. “I miss her so much! Please, please, can you go get her?”
She was so sad, she asked me to stay in her room with her while she fell asleep.
I haven’t seen her at quite this level of sad before. Yes, at age three, plenty of things can be overdramatic. But today, she was sincerely heartbroken. It’s a little thing. But really, not at all a little thing for her. And I’m just a bit heartbroken for her, myself.