found: a much-loved lion

Posted on October 15th, 2009 by mountain girl  |  3 Comments »

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Remember Mr. Lion? Otherwise known as Roary, Rarry, or just plain Lion, he was Zia’s very best friend since she was a tiny baby. I got him on clearance for $3 at Mardel Books when I was pregnant. I was buying a little lion shirt and thought it was cool that he came with it.

I had no idea how invaluable that lion would become to us!  Zia napped with him, nursed with him, slept with him at night, played with him during the day, teethed on him, ate with him on her tray, and just plain loved him. We washed him dozens of times, till his mane was matted and his ears almost disappeared. She bit off his hard plastic nose, and fingered his tail till it was almost completely threadbare. When she was tiny, I heard her crying and found her finger literally stuck in his mouth- although it was only made of thread. Out came the scissors, and I chopped that mouth off!

We had a lot of close calls with almost losing Rarry. Zia would fling hime out of the baby stroller, and bikers would pick him up and return him, we’d lose him in department stores, and have to retrace our steps to find him, etc, etc. But we always did find him. Until the day I thought he was gone forever.

He disappeared just after our Fourth of July trip to Arkansas. Here’s one of the very last pictures of him before his mysterious disappearance. (His tail is held high, stroking her nose, which means she’s just about to fall asleep.)

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I knew we had brought him home from Arkansas, and we had him for a day or 2 after that,but besides that I had no clue to his whereabouts. Well, there were a few places he might be. So for a solid week, Zia and I hopped in the car and scoured Kansas City to find him. We looked everywhere we could have been, and we searched some places 2 or 3 times. No Mr. Lion anywhere.

So we replaced him. Once, twice, 3 times. A different lion, a puppy dog, a teddy bear. Each eventually disappeared or just ended up on the floor, forsaken. So we realized there was just no replacing Roary. Heartbreak in life is inevitable, but we were hoping to fend it off till the poor kid was a bit older than 2!

And then the miracle happened. I was moving some furniture the other day while Zia was out with David at the hardware store. I lifted Zia’s bed (she has a queen mattress that sits on the floor) and stood it up against the wall. I turned to see -yup, you guessed it- Mr. Lion, squashed flat on the floor. At first I was too astonished to move. Then, very carefully, I reached down and picked him up (just to be sure it wasn’t a dream). Then I almost cried.

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Yup, it was really him. The little stinker.

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Flatter ‘n a pancake.

I popped him in the wash and didn’t say a word when she got home. After her bathy, we were about to snuggle down for some nummies, and I very gently procured him from among the clean laundry and handed him over. She was quiet for a minute, then her little voice was an octave higher:”Lion!”  “Do you remember him?” I asked (3 months must be like forever to a toddler). “No,” she stated confidently. “How about his tail?” I asked. “What do you do with that?” Immediately it went to her nose. She grinned. Yeah, right, you don’t remember him.

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Every story deserves a happy ending. She’s got her old friend back, and she’s loving him, but in an older sort of way. She loves snuggling with him, sleeping with him, nursing with him, but when we can’t locate him in the moment, she tells me it’s ok, she doesn’t need him.

I think it was more of a loose end tied up, a happy ending to that chapter after all, something sad that became something happy and kind of funny. (I never dreamed he was sleeping right  underneath her all that time!) I think it was more for me than for her that we found him. Well, maybe for both of us.

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He still is pretty important, Mamma!

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All I can say is, there sure is going to be a lumpy spot in the baby book.

Or under my pillow once she leaves home.

Or hey, maybe under her pillow at college.

3 Responses to “found: a much-loved lion”

  1. 3 amigos says on :

    hee hee hee cute little story ( WHAT A BEAUTIFUL LIL BEBEE) 🙂 she is getting SO BIG 🙂 luv u all/mom

  2. Sarah says on :

    Oh! ;o) Love it!

  3. 3 amigos says on :

    hello………..have a really good Friday:0 we can’t believe her beautiful hair is getting so long:) luv u/MOM

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