I don’t know if any of you remember Tom. Tom is Charlotte’s pink and white puppy stuffed animal. Well, he was pink and white. He’s more faded pink and grey now, because Charlotte loved him fiercely and made sure he went everywhere with her. Tom had to sleep with her (and me) every night. Tom got lost in Disney World and was found by a Good Samaritan. Tom had to stay in her backpack at school so he wouldn’t be alone at home. One time she forgot him at school and cried and cried so the next day we had “operation rescue Tom” and all was right with the world. Tom was Charlotte’s BFF.

And now Tom is just a stuffed animal in her room. It started slowly and I tried to pretend it wasn’t happening because even I had an attachment to Tom at this point. But Tom doesn’t sleep with her anymore. Tom doesn’t go anywhere with us. We don’t constantly ask “where’s Tom?” The other day Charlotte came downstairs and told me she found Tom under her bed. She put him on her Barbie dream house and said he’d stay there from now on. She hasn’t cast him aside forever, but the relationship is donezo.

And all I keep thinking about is friggin’ Toy Story. Because I think Tom is alive and probably weeps every day because he isn’t Charlotte’s favorite anymore. When he was under her bed he was probably afraid and upset and the other toys were trying to tell him it’s OK like the toys told Woody and there was probably a mean toy that made fun of Tom for being cast aside so all I want to do is hug him and thank him for being Char’s buddy for 3 years but she’s moved on now.

And that’s how I know the pandemic has fried my brain. Because I’m upset over a stuffed dog that I kinda sorta believe is alive. Medicate me, please.

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