This is Linda:
If you’ve been reading this site for any length of time, you’re likely already familiar with Linda. I’ve posted about her before and she frequently appears in our photos. She even made our Christmas card this year.
And, if you know us in real life, you definitely know Linda. Linda is my filthy, and often naked, fourth child. She goes with us everywhere.
Among the many things I adore about this fourth child of mine is the fact that so many members of our community treat her as a person. She is greeted by name:
At preschool drop-off and pick-up
While grocery shopping
At the pool
At the dance studio
I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that Linda is sort of famous in our small patch of this big, wide world. No matter where we are, folks are always greeting and interacting with Linda. Linda has charisma, folks.
Today, I’m going to tell you two Linda stories. One is about Linda’s best day ever, and the other is about her worst day…and the girl who loved her through both of those days.
Linda’s best day ever
Linda has had some really good days, including oodles of fancy days. The girl likes to get all dolled up!
But, recently, Linda had her best day ever. First, let me provide some context. I speak often of kindness on this site. I am fortunate to be surrounded by many kind souls in this life, and this year we added one more. Leo started taking piano lessons in September and I could go on and on about his teacher, Miss Cindy, from her joyful nature, to the way she ignites a passion in my child, to they way she treats my other children who aren’t her students (yet!!). She is good people, folks, and I could gush and gush and gush about her except she reads this site and I think I would embarrass her so I will stop the gushing right here.
Okay, I lied!
I have to gush about one more thing. At the start of summer, Miss Cindy surprised us all with a treasure. She had seen a photo of Miss T in her dance recital attire and for no reason except out of the kindness of her beautiful heart she recreated the entire outfit– from the dress to the bow to the prop… for Linda. You see, even though T is not a student of Miss Cindy’s, Miss Cindy knows how important Linda is to T, and therefore to the rest of our crew. You know how sometimes you get gifts in this life that are so touching that you can’t even properly thank the person for the gift? This was that sort of gift, folks, and the true gift is Miss Cindy herself.
Done gushing! Here is Linda, on her best day ever, thanks to Miss Cindy:
Linda has never looked better.
And T has never been so proud as she was the day she entered the dance recital in her sparkly blue dress with her mini-me, Linda, by her side. The photo I have of the two of them might go in her high school yearbook, folks. It’s that good.
Linda’s worst day ever
Now, I’d be lying if I told you that Linda has never had a bad day. She’s had her fair share and then some! There was the day that the kids pretended Linda had died and proceeded to bury her in a dirt sarcophagus. The sarcophagus incident resulted in a recurring eye situation:
One day, in mid-July, tragedy struck. It was Linda’s worst day ever. This day was worse than all of her other bad days combined.
The day started like any other. The kids and I ate breakfast while Linda looked on, and then we packed up to go to the pool. It was a hot and humid day and Linda spent much of the day relaxing on a beach towel.
Now and again, she’d be scooped up and played with by T, Seuss, and their friends.
I’ve mentioned before that Seuss often morphs into characters and engages in wild adventures. Well, this week, he was pretending to be Big Bertha. Big Bertha is a character from Seuss’ summer obsession: the Marvel superhero encyclopedia. She’s a bad guy, and Seuss loves bad guys.
Now, superheroes are not my forte. I don’t know anything about the actual Big Bertha, but I do know about the 3-year-old Big Bertha who visits my home from time to time. That 3-year-old Big Bertha likes to throw things and spike objects, despite our requests for her to stop. All too often, that thing is… you guessed it: Linda.
Now, you would think that T would be very upset by witnessing her younger brother spiking her beloved Linda on the kitchen floor, or the pool deck, but then you don’t know T very well. T is supremely understanding and tolerant of those around her. She gets that Seuss is showing his Linda Love in his own special, 3-year-old way. She rarely gets upset with him, although she will sometimes reclaim Linda and whisk her away for a much-needed nap. You could say that Big Bertha makes Linda feel resty.
So Linda spent this day, poolside, alternatively feeling resty or being spiked by Big Bertha.. in the hot, hot sun. She also took a quick dip in the pool, which T and I counted as a much-needed tub. Because that’s what moms do!
At the day’s end, I packed all of my kids up, Linda included, and headed home.
The next morning, I was gathering all of our pool supplies to do it all again and that’s when I noticed Linda’s head injury.
Linda’s scalp was split open across her hairline and down the center of her head to the nape of her neck. There was a hole in her head and some of her hair was missing.
I froze, panicked. Linda is more than a toy, she’s a part of our family. She is irreplaceable. How did this happen? Was it the sun? The chlorine? Big Bertha? Old age?
How was T going to react? I envisioned tears, drama, total devastation.
I texted Schizz, who was at work and didn’t have time to conjecture over the cause of Linda’s TBI, nor a treatment plan.
Before I could do anything, T appeared before me, in her bathing suit, and asked for Linda. I cringed and handed her over. Cowardly, I sputtered, “T, something seems to have happened to Linda’s head?” my voice rising as if I was asking a question.
Could this be happening??
T examined Linda’s face, eyes searching. With one finger, she slowly traced along the line of injury. She rubbed her index finger along the bald spot. She squeezed Linda’s face in her hands, and Linda’s head opened wide. Then, she released her hands and smoothed Linda’s hair a bit.
“Can we go to the pool now?” she asked.
I paused, dumbfounded. I told her that I was sorry about Linda’s injury.
“Linda’s fine. I love her anyway,” she replied, smiling.
T loved Linda just as much on Linda’s best day ever as she did on Linda’s worst day ever.
I’m not going to lie, folks, I had a tear. That’s unconditional love, is it not? Unconditional love means not flinching when tragedy strikes: you carry on and love despite all. And, while this appears to be a post about Linda, it’s truly a story about my sweet T. It’s a story about T’s love, and tolerance, and understanding.
I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: the world needs more Ts in it.
As for Linda, she’s doing okay. She underwent two procedures with two different types of glue. Both procedures failed and her injury remains. I do have a plan, though, should the situation get worse: a swim cap.
I know T will approve.
Now, it’s your turn… Do you have a Linda-equivalent in your home? Has tragedy ever struck an irreplaceable toy in your home? Have you any experience with doll injuries? Share here!
Cait co-hosts The Homeschool Sisters Podcast and is co-founder of Raising Poppies, a community for parents of gifted and twice-exceptional children. Cait is also founder of the Family Book Club at My Little Poppies, a fantastic community of book-loving parents and the Gameschool Community at My Little Poppies, a vibrant community of gameschoolers.
Cait is a contributing writer for Simple Homeschool. Her work has also appeared on The Huffington Post, The Mighty, Scary Mommy, GeekMom, and many others. You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram
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