I have a weird relationship with a stuffed sea otter. I can admit it.
It all started when said stuffed sea otter became a stand-in for a child I miscarried a few years back. Things have since escalated.
Her father and I separated, because he wasn't sure he wanted a stuffed sea otter and I plan on multiple stuffed sea otters. Sally was sad for awhile, but she was comforted by both Roger (her red sea star) and Pony (her silent giraffe pal). But she's pretty sure she doesn't want a sibling. She enjoys being the only recipient of my affection. She'd much prefer to be the only recipient of everyone's affection, but I've warned her about the dangers of getting greedy.
Sally has developed a sassy side - being a teenager is apparently an inter-species phenomenon. She's started turning Roger sideways and poking those who don't do her bidding fast enough. She pulls up Amazon when I'm not home and uses my credit card. She drives like her sole life goal is to hike my insurance into the stratosphere.
I never had a security blanket or a favorite stuffed animal as a child. But as a 38-year-old, I've gotten a bit overly reliant on a cheeky otter. She's in my carry-on when I travel. I miss her when I'm gone all day. I sleep with her every night. I tell her I love her.
While it's a bit strange, maybe it's not unexpected. I don't have a husband or a child or a pet or even a plant that stays alive long enough to see a season change. I honestly never thought I'd get this far along in my life without kids or a partner or a Boston terrier. Humans are designed to love and, if there isn't someone readily available, we will love whatever else we can wrap our emotions around.
Part of me worries about my devotion to Sally. I'll carry her around like a baby while making tea and look down at her and think, "This isn't normal."
But, really, love is love. Loving Sally makes me happier. Having her around brings me honest-to-god joy, especially when she turns her sass on the new human in my life. We can use all the happiness we can wrest out of the world right now.
So I make no apologies for Sally. And Sally is unabashedly thrilled with herself, just as she is.
Yup, she even takes selfies like a teenager.