Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Pardon the radio silence. With only a few days notice, Boy and I hopped a plane to Baltimore so Kennedy Krieger could evaluate his behavior problems. When our 13 hour trip turned into a 40 hour one, Boy--my child, my little monster--managed to keep it together. Mostly. We flew from Tallinn to Riga to Frankfurt to....IAD. The ellipsis there signifies a night in a hotel room in Frankfurt. Other than toppling over an 8 foot tall sign in Riga's airport, he was a trooper. As I waited in line in Frankfurt for an hour to get us on another flight to DC, he sat with his Taggie, his dearest lovey, and played on the iPad.

When I finally got our tickets for the next day and our hotel reservations for that night, I went over to him and told him how proud I was of him. He was tired and hungry, and as he so often does when slightly out of sorts, he was sucking two fingers and rubbing the worn ribbons that stuck out along the edge of his small square blanket. Well, trapezoidal blanket, really. It was a hastily sewn replacement for the one he had had since he was five months old.

He pointed out that my many repair jobs had not kept his Taggie from growing bigger holes. The pattern on one side had faded, the fuzz on the other side had dulled. Taggie had a series of mismatched stitches in mismatched threads in several places--the scars from my 6:00 a.m., pre-school run emergency remedies. Shoddy at best. He lamented its condition. It's because you love it so much. You've loved all those holes in it. I promised I would fix it again once we got to a sewing machine. But now, I told him, we have to go to the hotel.

We went through immigration, boarded a shuttle to the wrong hotel, stood in line, boarded a shuttle back to the airport, boarded another shuttle to the right hotel, stood in line, ate dinner, and got settled in our room. Somewhere in there, Taggie was lost.

We'd lost it before. Obviously the original was lost long ago, merely a few days after Girl was born. I once ran back to an outdoor museum to find it caught between the rocks along the Baltic Sea. It's been left in countless grocery store aisles. I thought for sure we'd find it this time, but I couldn't remember seeing it after we left the transfer desk area. I called the other hotel--it wasn't on their shuttle. I called the front desk of our hotel--it wasn't on their shuttle. I went to the restaurant. I went to the transfer desk when we went back to the airport the following day. I called Lost & Found. Nothing.

No Taggie.

It was gone.

I had a backup--the final backup--in our suitcase. Not sure why I brought it, but I was so relieved I did.

He was sad about the loss of his Taggie, with all the holes and terrible patch jobs--both signs of incredible love--but he was happy to have the replacement.

This week, as we went from appointment to appointment around Baltimore, he dutifully kept it with him. When he needed to wait, when jet lag was overwhelming him, he held it and sucked his fingers.

And then it was gone.

I checked the hospital, the rental apartment, everywhere.


Boy is almost four and a half, and while he is sad he has not yet been destroyed by this. I tell myself that this is good, that it's time for him to let it go. Oh, but do I ever want to cry and scream and grieve. I still have my security blanket and while it's tucked in a closet, I feel some comfort knowing that the item that brought me such peace and warmth when I was young and vulnerable has made it this far. I wanted to keep that Taggie and tuck it in his suitcase when he went to college, or give it a quick touch one night when he's being an impossible teenager. I wanted him to hold it when the pressure of schoolyard friendships was too much to bear, when he hoped his friends wouldn't notice that he still had it.

I don't know how this happens, how a child goes from crying in his car seat in agony when we left Taggie inside the house, viscerally needing his lovey for our run to the store, to shrugging off with a mere frown the fact that that same lovey is gone forever.

He might have been ready for this, but I certainly wasn't.

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