(photo: Lambie, rescued)
Last night, I uncovered yet another reason why I’m a superior candidate for analysis. I was transferring some empty wine bottles to the recycle bin downstairs when I spotted Lambie, Caroline’s cherished stuffed lamb, in the trash barrel. One of his fluffy limbs jutted out from beneath a Mount Blue pizza box, signaling for help. Horrified, I dug him out and immediately tossed him into the dryer with some fresh linen-scented Bounce to prevent the rancid stench of wet garbage from settling into his faux fleece.
I felt sick and anxiously paced the floors as I awaited the offender’s arrival home. When confronted, James matter-of-factly said he’d chanced upon Vito humping the lamb and determined it should no longer be in the house. He padded his argument with the fact that Caroline hasn’t played with Lambie that much as of late. He rolled in some of the witnesses in current rotation: Renny the elephant and the lazy-eyed doll, Baby Ryan. But I explained these were additions, not replacements, and how can you be so heartless?
Just when James was convinced I’d completely lost my mind, I realized why I was so upset about what he'd done: It’s something my mother would do. Seeing the lamb in the trash brought forth the heightened sense of anxiety and vigilance that ruled my life as a child. I lived in constant fear that my mother, arch enemy of clutter and dirt, would toss out something for which I cared deeply.
My bizarre attachment to “inanimate objects” was deemed illogical and therefore never considered when decisions were made about what was junk and what was not. I remember hurling myself on green trash bags, like a widow on a coffin. I remember experiencing the three stages of grief, at five years old, over a lost sneaker. Crazy and illogical yes, but the feelings of loss were no less real. And I never want Caroline to feel that way if she doesn't have to.
That said, I reminded James of the rug incident of three weeks ago. We’d purchased a new living room rug, and as James rolled up the old one and carted it off, Caroline became hysterical: “I want my rug back! Bring it back…Please!”
“You mean that old, dog hair-encrusted rug from Target that smells like feet,” I asked.
“I really, really need it, Mama,” she said, completely inconsolable. I saw the real pain in her face and I recognized it. The poor wee child has inherited my dysfunction.
(photo: Tearful reunion)
Even James agreed here: If Caroline had spotted Lambie in the trash, we would have
had to call 911.
PART II of this saga, "The Sparkles Factor," will appear on tomorrow's blog.