Friday, October 23, 2009

"Sharing Girl"

This week was a biggie for Roslyn. She came home on Monday, thrilled to tell us that she had been chosen to be the "sharing girl" this week. In addition to being the first one to go to lunch, first to read in class, first to do a lot of things, the sharing girl gets to bring in something from home to show and tell her class. Yesterday was Roslyn's sharing day and she chose to bring in Stellaluna.

Stellaluna is a very special little stuffed animal in our house. She is the puppy that Santa gave to Natalie in her stocking shortly before she died. Natalie loved her and slept with her every night. Natalie just called her "doggie." At Natalie's memorial service, we placed "doggie" on her casket along with her favorite bedtime book, Eric Carle's "Head to Toe." During the service, Roslyn (then only 4 years old) marched up and grabbed the stuffed animal off the casket. I let her have it as it seemed to bring her some comfort. In the weeks that followed, I would sleep with the doggie. It helped me feel closer to Natalie somehow. When Roslyn discovered I'd been doing this, she asked if she could have her. Although she brought me comfort, I agreed to let Roslyn have her. A mother's sacrifice. Roslyn had renamed the dog "Brownie."

At some point later, I brought home a DVD from the library called "Stellaluna," a story based on the book of the same name about a baby fruit bat who is separated from her mother. Roslyn really loved it and decided that "Brownie" would now be called "Stellaluna" and that she was no longer a puppy dog, but a baby bat. Roslyn started to bring "Stell" as she's known for short everywhere. On one memorable trip to Target, Roslyn lost Stell and we didn't realize it until we were almost finished shopping, at least 30 minutes later. Roslyn burst into tears upon the discovery that Stell was gone. I was on the verge of tears myself. But she remembered where she left her (in the soap aisle), so we quickly made a beeline for where she thought she'd left her. Unfortunately, she wasn't there. I looked all around in the vicinity, but no sign of the lost baby bat. Next we went to Customer Service for the lost & found, but they didn't have her either. By some lucky coincidence, I just happened to notice Stell in a shopping cart that was full of random items that one of the store clerks was picking up to put back where they belong. Roslyn grabbed her and hugged her and we were truly overjoyed that we'd found our little Stell. We were really lucky.

Another time when we were at Sears, Stell accidentally slipped from Roslyn's grasp and we found her lying in the middle of the main aisle. Luckily, it only took us a few minutes to realize she was gone that time. After that, we decided that Stell could come with us, but it would be best for her to stay in the car. Now, she mostly just stays at home for her own safety.

It's amazing how strongly we all feel for this this little stuffed animal. It is clear to me that Stell is a major part of Roslyn's coping with Natalie's death. On a few occasions, she's slipped and started to call her "my little sis..." or "Nat....", but then she catches herself and says, "I mean, Stell." Oh, it breaks my heart.

Stell is starting to show the wear and tear of the intense love she bears. Roslyn's sharing day went well. She reported that her classmates were "very gentle with Stell." I know it made her feel really good to share with them.

Here's Natalie on Christmas Day 2006 with Stellaluna in the background (sadly, the only picture we have of them together), and Roslyn with Stell in November 2007.