My daughter Lainey is four years old and I love her. She cherishes each of her toys, even though she tends to misplace them.
The other day, around suppertime, we arrived home after a walk to Spy Pond Park.
"Where's Topsy?" Lainey exclaimed.
"You don't have her?" I asked.
Lainey bit her lip, arched her worried eyebrows, and shook her head.
Topsy was a definite favorite. The tan Beanie-baby bunny from Walgreens was an Easter gift a year ago. The poor little thing was stepped on, thrown, stashed in Kleenex boxes and shoes, dropped in sand, mud and the tub, kissed, hugged and loved.
"Let's go," I sighed.
We piled in the car and drove slowly toward the park.
"Watch for her, Lainey."
Lainey focused out the window and nervously twiddled her fingers. At the park, there was no bunny. I parked and ran around the playground. Nothing.
"Find her, Dad?"
I shook my head.
Lainey frowned and her face reddened.
"You have to take better care of your things, Lainey," I said softly.
She nodded and sniffled a bit. Her body clenched, but not one tear. What a champ.
"Keep looking," I offered. “I’ll drive slow.”
Homeward bound, I turned the corner onto Mass Ave.
"Topsy!" Lainey squealed. And there Topsy was, in the middle of the sidewalk, lying on her back, little feet pointing in the air.
I pulled the car over, scooped up the bunny and tossed her to Lainey for a full embrace.
That night Topsy had dinner with us, got her hair trimmed and brushed and slept with the kid. Even went to school with her the next day.
A few days later, Topsy was lost again. And found two days later, this time in the pocket of my wife’s winter coat. How many lives does this thing have? Lainey has been very brave so far, but if not… Walgreens is just around the corner.