Comfort

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I’ve got this monkey. I love him more than any material possession I own. He’s small and brown and fit just perfect in my skinny arms when I got him for my 8th birthday from my Grams.  That was about 21 years ago.  She didn’t actually pick him out for me.  I arranged the adoption on my own.  When I say  “arranged” I mean I finagled my ownership.

Every summer I would go for a visit to my Grams & Gramps’s house in sunny southern California.  My birthday happens to fall in August.  Since my Grams never had a daughter she used us granddaughters to get her girlie on.  Grams was quite the girlie girl.  Tall, beautiful, blonde, classy, and always proper…well usually.  She’s the one who informed me that it is totally acceptable to apply lipstick & lip liner at the dinner table after a meal…but never anything else.  That would be rude. Each time I do this now, I think of her.  I also think of her when I’m applying …well, anything else at the dinner table.   That proper-gene skipped me.

On one of our girlie girl days, Grams took me out to lunch to some place with flowers on the table and two forks at the setting.  I was 8. I was impressed.  Lunch was followed by a trip to the Boston Store where I got to choose anything I wanted for my birthday.  This upscale department store no longer exists in Southern California.  But it was an experience for this little country bumpkin.  Perfume counters. Women with every make up product on their faces selling…well, make up.  Racks of dresses and fur coats.  It always seemed that Grams conveniently took the route to the girls department via the women’s department.

The little girls section of the store was filled with flowered,fluffy, lacy, bowed up and ruffled pink dresses.  My days of “I will only wear that dress if it will twirl” were long gone.  I was not interested in anything in this section.  I remember Grams holding up at least 16 varieties of what I saw as the same dress.  Now where the heck was I going to wear a dress??? School?  Pppsssshhhh…..this little  lady preferred climbing trees and scaling walls.  I was being polite. I was being very quiet.  I was hoping we would stop and get an ice cream cone at Baskin Robbins on the way home.

I was just about to agree to a lovely little purse {that I could store rocks and treasures that I found outside in}. Then I saw him. I remember this moment perfectly and in slow motion…Sitting on the shelf along the back wall next to the dressing rooms was a little brown stuffed monkey.  He was just sitting there…waiting for me.  Love at first sight does exist.

When my Grams would tell this story, she would say that I picked up that doll and never put him down.  I wouldn’t look at another thing.  My mind was completely made up.  No dress or purse would do.  I was most definitely not a girlie girl.  I was a monkey girl.

I named him Monks.

He’s been with me thirty years now….shit, I mean he’s been with me twenty-one years now. {cough cough cough}

Monks attended third grade with me.  Everyday.  At this time I was a very shy, quiet, observant child.{I actually didn’t ever speak at school unless I had to.} My teacher made him a little bed to sit in behind my desk.  I believe she even made Monks an outfit or two. She told my mom that she thought it was wonderful that I was still childlike and was in no rush to grow up like so many of the other girls.  I think Mrs. Taylor was the wisest of all the teachers I ever had.

Most children develop a security object very young.  As babies actually.   Traditionally it’s a teddy bear or satiny blankly.  Apparently I liked to be a little odd and not go with the flow.  Until I was eight, I don’t remember having any one thing I loved or needed so much.

Monks only attended third grade.  As I got older, I started to come out of my shell.  Looking back, as an adult and someone who has been around at least 506 children, I believe that my little monkey played a huge role in my childhood.  He was my comfort.

He still is.

We all have pondered the question…you know, the one that goes something like this…If you could only save one thing {besides your family & pets} from your burning house what would it be?  My answer ?

Monks.

I cannot and probably will not ever be able to tell you why he is so important.  He just is.  He was my classmate, my playmate, my roommate, and also my prom date.  {Totally kidding about the prom date.}  I toted the little guy with me on slumber parties and vacations. {At least until I realized the chance of him getting left behind or lost was bigger than a house fire while I was a way.} My mom actually framed a picture of him for me for Christmas one year.  He also received a gift of his own.  A tiny red and green sweater and scarf set.  Adorable.

Though high school he sat on my bed and waited for me to return home from cheer practice or my  rad job at the mall. He saw me cry over stupid boys & silly arguments with friends.   I will admit it…I still cuddled up with him every now and then.  So what if I was 15…He was my comfort.

In my early twenties I miscarried my first baby.  I held Monks that night and cried for what almost was.  When my next pregnancies hit that “safety” mark of 3 months or so I bought each baby a monkey of  their own.   My boys never formed an attachment with their monkeys like I did with Monks. They preferred pacifiers, ears, and Zambonies. {Weirdos.} Monks did attend each birth though. He was my comfort.

I think the saddest scene in any movie EVER is the part of Toy Story 2 when the little girl leaves her beloved “Jessie” the cowgirl on the side of the road in a box to be donated.  As the car pulls away and the Sarah McLochlan song begins I just lose it.  What the hell kind of person does such a thing??? An evil person.  That’s what kind. {And yer darn tootin’ I’m going to put that clip at the end of this blog… }

I know it’s all pretty silly.  A stuffed animal.  A once fluffy now matted down, stitched up, piece of fabric with eyes and a nose. My name scrawled on his tag with a sharpie.  J. Allee. {This was way before Andy did this to Buzz & Woody in Toy Story…I mean a tiny bit before…}

Some days I long for my childhood.  Who doesn’t? It was so easy then.  Real responsibilities didn’t really exist yet.  Each day began with the hope of chasing butterflies, climbing trees, playing air guitar to Rick Springfield songs, showing off your awesome sticker book and if you’re lucky…the ice cream truck would make his way down your street. Adulthood can be rough.  Some days a heck of a lot rougher than others.  Those are the days I can be found with my little pal, tucked in my arms under the covers. Sometimes I still need him.

He is my comfort.

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3 responses »

  1. Pingback: Feel. | JAB @ the World

  2. Making people smile is priceless to me. I’m glad I got one out of ya. I encourage you to write things down. There are some really cool prompt books you can use…i have one that as a question at the top of the page and then room to write a short answer. The questions are geared towards moms dads grandmas grandpas etc. Make sure you don’t get the dad/grandpa one though…:) Writing is a huge outlet for me…usually do it when my mind won’t shut down and rarely if never is the blog about what is cruzing through my head. And as always, thanks for the feedback…i live for it…really. And i did warn you at the begining i may write a swear word or two!

  3. Oh, s….. I need more tissues. [You’ve just got to stop writing, “shit.” I try to squinch my eyes over “naughty” words I read but sometimes they get into my head….and try to come out my mouth when I get mad! Oh, nevermind. Obviously, this is completely my problem, not yours.] I didn’t remember you had had a miscarriage [that’s so very hard] and I had forgotten about Max’s ear obsession! I love your blogs. I ALMOST want to write down my memoirs because your memories lead to mine/probaby everyone elses. I can’t write like you but surely we all have things important enough to remember. Keep it up, sweetie. What you write makes me smile [and I sortof need smiles these day, so thanks!].

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