So, as I’ve mentioned before, my day job is a traveling sales rep. Traveling sounds cool until you do it- it’s mostly quiet, and you aren’t out living it up or seeing whatever local highlights there are to see and do in your destination. (“So what’s there to do in Port Lavaca, TX? Be sad and breath in carcinogens? Oh. Okay…I’ll just stay in my hotel room then.”) Mostly it’s just time you are aware, every single second, that you are away from where you want to be. I turn into Dorothy when I travel: “There’s no place like home! There’s no place like home!” Maybe if I got some red glittery heels off of a corpse that would work, because it sure didn’t work with the snow boots I wore on this last trip.
So when I do travel for more than a few days I take along a couple of my daughters’ stuffed animals and write stories about them. Making these lets me feel- from very far away- that I’m still participating in my family. I’m contributing. Connecting. It’s totally worth an hour in a hotel making something for my girls to laugh over while I’m gone. And I always call my husband IMMEDIATELY after I send it and ask if he read it. “Did you read it? What did you think? My favorite part is…” and so on. Because I’m THAT person, I guess.
I don’t buy them anything on my trips usually- as a wise Snapple cap once told me: “The more you own, the more that owns you”- but they have binders of these stories from me. I hope it’s something they remember- that Mom sent them effort and some chuckles instead of a magnet or keychain. I hope they remember. But even if they don’t… writing these stories for them made me feel better when I travelled and I needed it. Oh! And also, I feel like I grow as a person each time someone gives me some side-eye for being a grown ass woman walking around taking pictures of stuffed animals. Pride is a sin, so they say- so those occasions help me overcome my not insubstantial personal share.
(So- Baby Tiger is the big eyed one here. Stripeless USED to be called Baby Tiger until the new Baby Tiger came along- at which time the name was changed by my oldest daughter to Stripeless- because she’d been so well loved by that point her stripes had rubbed off. They are both girls.)
The Adventures of Baby Tiger and Stripeless in Canada, eh?!
“Well, here we go! I’ve never been in an airplane before, have you Stripeless?”
“No, I never have, Baby Tiger! I’m so excited! I sure am glad we got to come with Lily and Noelle’s Mommy on this trip. I bet she is too- I’m sure their Mommy would have been lonely without us. We have a very important job to do- keeping her from missing Lily and Noelle too much!”
“That’s true, Stripeless… but we are here MOSTLY to have fun, right?”
“Canada! It wasn’t the quickest airplane ride, but we finally got here. I wonder if Lily and Noelle have looked on the globe to see where we are in Winnipeg, Canada? This snow sure is cold, how does it taste, Stripeless?”
“It tastes freezing! The world is one big snow-cone up here- lets go back inside, Baby Tiger!”
“Run quicker- we’re not snow Tigers!”
Whew! A hotel fire- that will warm those cold tigers up!
“Ahhhh… it sure was nice to warm up in front of that fire, Baby Tiger! It’s been a really long day… I think it’s time to go to bed, don’t you?”
“I sure do, Stripeless. Do you think if we shouted loud enough that Lily and Noelle would hear us tell them goodnight?”
“GOODNIGHT LILY AND NOELLE!!!!!”
Part of me can’t believe I just wrote a blog post about stuffed animals. And part of me totally, totally can.