My almost-3-year-old daughter, Margot, has a dolly/blankie that has been her Favorite Thing since she was old enough to have a favorite thing. In fact, she recently told me that Dolly is “her sister.” So you see, they are quite close.
The problem, however, with Margot and Dolly’s relationship is that Margot can’t seem to keep track of Dolly. More than that, Margot is peculiarly capable of losing Dolly. Losing her in places it would seem impossible to lose anything (Margot and Dolly sit together on the couch. Dolly is lost.) Losing her with unbelievable speed (We’ve 12 seconds ago walked into the house. Dolly is lost.) Losing her with mind-boggling frequency. (Dolly is lost. We find Dolly! Dolly is lost again.)
Margot and Dolly (well . . .) want constantly to be together. Yet, Margot and Dolly can never be together, or when they are, they are not really together so much as in this tiny moment of grace between their frequent separations. Perhaps these are not even moments of grace and togetherness but some kind of willful defiance of what seems like a magnetism-grade repulsion between their two beings.
Margot is constantly unhappy–Dolly is always gone. But, Margot can’t live without Dolly–in fact, what she does seem to live for is that moment we finally spy Dolly stuffed between couch cushions, or under a kitchen towel (where Margot has placed her but forgotten), or hiding behind a door. Margot screams with joy– “Dolly!!!” Something in the constant wresting apart of the two parties makes the reunion that much more exhilarating–and that much more addictive.
. . . perhaps. Perhaps all of this. Perhaps none of it. Perhaps I am making something from children and their toys. Or perhaps there is an idea worth pondering, a question worth asking in this uncensored, unapologetic act of a child–what is in my life by my defiance of incompatibility, of magnetic repulsion, or of my addiction to overcoming the seemly-fated separation between me and it?
I wonder about myself.