I just spent £20 on a toy dog no bigger than the palm of my hand.
I just spent £1.20 on a toy dog no bigger than the palm of my hand. And £18.80 to have it sent in the post. FROM OHIO.
Yes, that’ll be the one in America.
Did I mention the dog in question is one of those beanie babies you get with a McDonald’s Happy Meal? FOR FREE?
If it sounds like I’m going a bit mad, bear with me. My eyes have gone a bit funny because I’ve spent the past hour scrolling through eBay typing the words ‘small black and white spotty toy dog TY beanie baby dalmation puppy dotty’ in 6,458 different ways, and trying to find THE ONE.
The one my 3-year-old lost a couple of months ago. The one he loved – and I mean really loved – since he was teeny tiny.
And the one I just found myself staring at in a photograph, and sobbing great big snotty tears because of the way my little boy is cuddling it with actual adoration in his eyes. Because I can’t get over how young he looks in the photo. Because I remember for some bizarre reason he used to call the teddy his brother. And because he still asks ‘mummy, when are we going to find Woof Woof?’ with a sad little look on his face. Every. Day.
What happened to me?
Now, I don’t know if anyone else has gone the same way, but since having kids I’ve found a new identity as A Crier. I never used to be A Crier. In fact, I was very much Not A Crier. I distinctly remember dislocating my arm in a gymnastics competition aged about ten, and my coach coming over to me, worriedly saying ‘you can cry you know’, as I held my breath in an attempt to stifle the pain without letting a sound out.
I still refused to budge.
Fast-forward 20-odd years, throw a couple of offspring into the mix, and these days anything sets me off. Particularly if it’s about kids, or family, or motherhood, or old people, or young people, or babies, or… oh hell, anything. Who am I kidding? There’s no ‘particularly’ about it.
And that photo, of my son clutching Woof Woof, is what’s done it tonight. I know it’s pathetic, but he loved that dog so much for so many years it actually feels like I’ve lost a bit of his childhood. And I feel responsible, because we had a rule that he was so precious he didn’t leave the house (the dog, not my son), and I must have forgotten and let him take him out because one day he was just…gone.
And that was that.
A little worn-out, black and white bundle of memories, gone.
And so tonight I’ve found myself sitting in a silent house, scrolling through eBay listings and looking at hundreds of black and white dogs (none of whom seem to look quite like Woof Woof), trying to replace something that, in a funny way, is probably more important to me than it is to him, because I’m the one watching the years slip by and wishing I could claw some of them back.
It’s funny, the things we do for love.