My daughter is 6. The middle shelf in her closet is home to at least 30 stuffed animals. For the most part it is a community of equals. These friends are equally loved and ignored. Except for one – Fuzzy Pig.
Fuzzy Pig is one of a kind.
Of course like most toys he was born in a Chinese factory. In the mind of the toy-maker who first drew his form and then contracted to have him mass produced, Fuzzy Pig was a commodity to be made and sold. He was fashioned by uncaring, unthinking machines designed for that purpose and then probably stuffed with a thousand twin brothers in a shipping crate bound for Wal-mart. In the story of his birth he is remarkably, unremarkable.
For the first few months after immigrating to America, Fuzzy Pig continued in an ordinary existence of sitting and waiting. He was one of a million products lining the shelves of a big-box store waiting to be claimed and used for a purpose.
Unbeknownst to him, Fuzzy Pig’s journey towards purpose began when my younger brother Stace heard that my wife was pregnantl. The family planned a baby shower and Fuzzy Pig emerged from a pink and white gift bag with a note that said, “To Madeline, Love Stace and Jennifer”. Fuzzy Pig became a Smith that day.
Several months later Madeline made her grand entrance into the world. On her first night home after one or two in the hospital she met Fuzzy Pig for the very first time. It was love at first sight. Ok, well maybe Fuzzy Pig loved Madeline first, but his love would soon be reciprocated in marvelous style. Soon Madeline couldn’t even sleep until Fuzzy Pig was safe and sound in the crib with her. In fact, she required his presence nearly twenty-four hours a day. If she played on the floor, Fuzzy Pig played too. If she rode in the car, Fuzzy Pig rode with her. This small pink and white creature soon became an indispensable member of the Smith clan.
As Madeline grew, so did Fuzzy Pig. As she learned to crawl and then walk, Fuzzy Pig also gained the ability to get around. He became an expert at driving Barbie cars, living in doll houses and eating every meal in the high chair. When Madeline began to utter her first words, Fuzzy Pig miraculously spoke with the slight twang of a young Southern Bell.
When Madeline was around 3 years old she learned to dance. She would dance to any music within earshot, but her favorite was Sugarland’s “Stuck Like Glue”. She would twirl, pirouette and fly around the room like a tiny ballerina. Every space was transformed into a stage and her Mom and I the perpetual audience. As it turned out, Fuzzy Pig was quite the dancing partner. He even did somersaults up to the ceiling and back again.
Fuzzy Pig has many roles. He is comforter, confidant, best friend who always listens, and dancing partner extraordinaire.
For me Fuzzy Pig is also a professor. His prolific imagination and unconditional love for Madeline has inspired me to look at life through sewn up, button on eyes. Through the Fuzz I have learned to love life and to take every opportunity to dance with your favorite person.