When I was a wee girl...not yet the fabulous Queen of the Universe you know and love, I had a stuffed owl that went by the inventive name Hoot-Hoot. The thing was basically an oval cylinder made from brown shag carpeting, stuffed with newspaper, and it's bottom was made from cardboard. This thing was ugly. I've searched the internet to see if I could find anything that even vaguely resembled it. This is the closest I've come....only mine was much, much uglier, and uniformly brown.
I don't know where it came from or when I got it. I only know that I loved it intensely and it was my steadfast and constant companion for quite awhile. I don't know what made it so appealing. It was made from carpeting, stuffed with newspaper, so it wasn't especially soft or cuddly. In fact, it was quite rough and pokey. But, I loved it nonetheless. I spent hours smoothing the shag away from the glass eyes, touching the felt that made up it's beak...hugging it and loving it and carrying it places.
Unfortunately, my penchant for carrying it with me everywhere is what led us to part ways. I left it behind on a beach one night. I know we returned briefly to look for it, to no avail. I was devastated. Hoot-Hoot was one of a kind, obviously (because who else would want such a hideously uncomfortable stuffed toy?) and my family was poor, so when my sister or I broke or lost even the most treasured possessions, there were never replacements. This meant we took care of our toys and kept track of them far better than the midget and her cousins do. My nieces, nephews and daughter have so many more things...my daughter less so than her cousins, but even the midget is spoiled silly. I can honestly say that I never had even a fraction of the sheer amount of "stuff" the midget has.
Hoot-Hoot has not been a part of my life for 30 years, but a loss like that one is not one that's easily forgotten. I've told many people about my awful beloved owl over the years. And even though I still miss the thing as an adult, it never occurred to me to try and replace Hoot-Hoot. After all, it was entirely unique, and the adult Queen of the Universe has no real need for such a thing, even if I could find one. And frankly, if I'm going to spend any money on myself for an item that's not a necessary or practical item, it's likely to be a book. It's exceedingly rare for me to buy myself "things." All of the knick knacks or ornamental items I own are gifts from other people, with the exception of a single cobalt blue vase I bought myself back when the EG used to give me flowers often.
While perusing the Build a Bear website with my cousins, talking about gifts for the kids, I came across an owl. An adorable orange owl with multicolored polka dots. I immediately went into a coveting mode. However, since I'm still waiting for financial aid and my disablility claim to come through, there is no money for such things, even if I were inclined to spend the money on myself.
Tonight, though, my cousin came home from a trip to the Bay Area, and brought me the stuffed owl. I squeed and hugged it to my chest like a small child. Yes, it's an item now owned by little girls everywhere, so it's not unique like Hoot-Hoot was, but that doesn't make it less wonderful. She even had the sound thingy put in it, so that when you press it's tummy it hoots. I'm absolutely in love with this owl. And even more in love with my family. I am reminded, once again, how lucky I am to be surrounded by people who love me...not just my family, but my biofamily, and my best friend as well. It's a lot more than that sad little three year old girl who loved an ugly owl ever imagined she'd have in her life.