Backup Friends

Daniel was sick a few weeks ago.  He spent most of a night throwing up on his bed, his books, his toys and Oscar, his stuffed blue dog and full time alter ego.  So while Oscar awaited his turn down in the basement to be washed, Daniel started carrying around another of his stuffed animal “pets”: Woof, the young gray wolf.

For a week or so, Woof accompanied Daniel to the store, came with us in the car and even had a couple of rides on Daniel’s bike.  However, as soon as Oscar had been decontaminated, he and Daniel were back together and Woof was left forgotten on the family room couch.

I asked Daniel about how he had treated Woof.  Woof had been there for him at his darkest hour; Daniel had fun with him and then tossed him aside when Oscar came back.  Daniel didn’t deny it.

“Woof is my backup friend,” he explained.  “I just use him when Oscar smells like puke.”  I guess it bothered me because I feel like I’ve been the “backup friend” from time to time, called when no one else was around (or maybe they smelled like puke).  I’d have fun and then – suddenly – my calls would no longer be answered.  Daniel didn’t get my point.  He is only eight years old.

So, I hung out with Woof.  We watched a little TV together and then he sat next to me on the couch while I jotted down this blog.


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