Stepfamily Issues

Personal stories about stepfamilies, childhood and general family issues.

December 26, 2007

stuffed toy friends

Ricki's 'friend' Ben wasn't a real live animal - it was just a stuffed toy - but like the Ben in Michael Jackson's song "Ben" it was the only friend she had for many years and because of this the song holds special memories for her.

"People think it's amazing that I can remember my friend Ben after all these years," says Ricki, "but if it's true that the first thing you see when you're born is indelibly imprinted on your memory banks then it's not so amazing after all."

"I was the first baby born before Christmas at the local hospital and for this feat I was presented by the medical staff with a big stuffed panda as a present."

"Ben and I were inseparable for six years," says Ricki, "and I don't remember what happened to him - I think my mother disposed of him after he fell to pieces in the washing machine."

"By that age I had moved on and had made real life friends and wasn't as attached to Ben as I was in infancy," explains Ricki, "so I didn't fall to pieces with grief when Ben disappeared one day."

"It was the first lesson in separation I learned in life, and it wasn't painful - it was natural."

"Definitely, had I lost Ben earlier in my life I would have been devastated and this devastation would have manifested itself later in my life whenever I had to move on and say goodbye to someone."

"In that respect I was very lucky with Ben."

"Like a true friend, he stayed with me until I was ready for the separation," explains Ricki, "and because I had real life friends by then, I didn't miss him too much when he disappeared."

"Until then, Ben was truly my best friend," says Ricki. "He went everywhere with me - even into the bath with me!"

"I talked to him like he was a real person - he shared all my childhood fears and secrets - and when I was angry with my parents I'd get angry with Ben."

"Poor old Ben," sighs Ricki. "He never complained."

"For only children like me," explains Ricki, "an animal, or even a stuffed toy, is vital for a child's development."

"In many respects I think a stuffed animal makes an ideal friend for a baby," laughs Ricki. "I couldn't imagine a real life animal being allowed to sleep, bathe and eat with me!"

"It's interesting that Ben was a panda - rather than a run of the mill teddy bear," muses Ricki. "Maybe I have him to thank for my exotic tastes in life - who knows?"
"What I do know, though," adds Ricki, "is that I never took to dolls like other little girls did. Why should I?"

"I had a friend in Ben, didn't I?"

"My husband and I don't plan on having any children so maybe having Ben in my life - rather than dolls - influenced my life more than my parents could ever imagine."

Ricki's story first appeared as my friend ben

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