When you are six, the phrase “loved to pieces” is not just a figurative expression. When you are six, and the one you love best is a small stuffed duck that has been in the family as long as you have, the pieces that you have loved into oblivion start to outnumber the pieces left to continue being loved.
And so it was, I found myself this morning, duck in hand, picking out the perfect floss colours to match what is left of Duckie’s prints, pulling out my stash of polyfill, and settling into my chair at the school table. As I walked Mr6 through addition & subtraction review, supervising handwriting for the middle two, and scratching my head trying to recall calculus rules that had laid dormant and gathering cobwebs in the furtherest reaches of my brian for the past two decades on Mr13’s behalf, I started with the smaller of the large missing patches, playing with colour placements and working out how to best fit my darning stitches in and around the awkward, irregular space. And, indeed, how to keep a workable, semi-normal tension, without being able to use a darning mushroom, when the fabric being darned was a 6 year old jersey, stretched from many adventures involving being carried by the head or swung by the arms, you know, the usual occupational hazards that come with belonging to a boisterous small child.
Somehow, I managed to make it work with only the smallest of puckers. The colours came together nicely, the largest section sank only a little bit, an artifact of me reluctance to overstuff and add further stress to the fabric. A few beginning holes were likewise patched up, limbs reinforced, and one little Duckie was back in action and being fussed over by his human, and the various other beings that inhabit the bed also – Teddy, Little Ted, Ernie, Dino, all were on standby, complete with gifts, ready to welcome Duckie home and aid him on his road to recovery after his arduous surgery.
Of course, now he’s all spick and span, we seem to have created a monster, as Duckie and his human have just swung by to discuss some cosmetic surgery. He’s all colourful now, I’m told, and would like a patch on his leg. There’s not a hole there, Mr6 assures me, it would just look really cool to have some stitching there. Mum life, bringing all the glamorous moments like Stuffed Duck Surgery For Funsies. I’m not entirely sure this is what I signed up for…