If you entered our master bedroom, you might wonder why a Christmas reindeer holds court, an apparently out-of-place decoration on this early October morning. He is there out of courtesy to my six-year-old daughter.
You see, some months ago she thought it was important that my husband and I have a stuffed animal to keep us company through the night. It only makes sense in her mind, the child who would sleep with an army of them if I didn’t relegate her to two, that we should have one for our bed, also.
At first, the animals who were given to us each night rotated – an elephant one night, a teddy bear the next. Then somehow we ended up with reindeer. Now he doesn’t return “home” to my daughter’s room each night, but remains in our chair all day.
It’s not that she’s forgotten him, oh no. Every night after bedtime prayers, hugs and kisses, as I leave the room for the final time, she calls, “Do you have reindeer?” My answer is “Yes, I do.”
So as I make the bed today, I glance over and see him there. She is at school, in the midst of reading words and reciting math facts. I am home alone, yet I feel her love, her spirit, her imagination. This small piece of stuffed fabric symbolizes much more than it knows. He is part of the family, a tradition that will linger when his owner has moved beyond stuffed animals, when she no longer holds one in her grasp as she drifts off to sleep.
I hope she doesn’t reclaim him too soon. Our chair will look mighty empty without him.