Benton has a stuffed arsenal of what he calls "comfort friends." The group consists of Puppy (a girl), Evelyn (a boy elephant), and Stitches. Stitches was a gift from Salem Hospital the night Benton got his first stitches. Clever name, eh? He has been the one constant in the group of comfort friends. The one "must-have" in order to sleep or go on a long road trip. And a few weeks ago, Stitches went missing. Friends and family were notified to be on the lookout, the toy box and stuffed animal basket were checked and double checked. The bed was looked behind, the van searched thoroughly. All to no avail. Benton handled the situation remarkably well. The other day, we had the following conversation.
Ben: I'm starting to think I will never ever see Stitches again.
Mom: (Sobbing on the inside) Why is that, buddy?
B: He's been gone a very long time on his adventure.
M: How do you feel about that, Benton? (I didn't want to make a big deal about it and freak him out if he wasn't worried about it).
B: Kinda sad. But happy because he is having a lot of fun. (long pause). Unless he was attacked my hungry lions and they ate his legs off and he can't walk home.
M: (Still can't think of a blessed thing to say).
B: But he's made of stuffing, so he wouldn't taste good to a lion.
M: (Biting a hole in my tongue)
B: So the lion probably brought him home for his baby.
M: (Not sure if he was brought home as a friend or a snack).
Today, I had planned a full scale search and rescue operation after school. Paul and I were more traumatized by his departure than Benton. Meanwhile, the boys's room could use a thorough going through anyway. Before I got a chance, the boys's bedroom door burst open, spilling out a four year old walking on air. "MOM! LOOK WHAT NATHANIEL FOUND!!" And clutched (around the neck) in his fist was our beloved Stitches. We spent some time catching up. His adventures included running, jumping, skipping and swimming in a pool.
It turns out, Stitches was hanging out behind the toy box. Benton proceeded to chase Nathaniel around the living room saying (and I quote) "Nathaniel, you are my very veryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryvery
BEST BROTHER!" (I may have missed a very or 100).