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When I turned two, I was given a stuffed animal for my birthday. Pretty much it's a rabbit with a music box inside of him but since I had a ridiculous obsession with dogs, I named him Puppy.

If you can't tell by his extra handsome looks, Puppy has been with me ever since my second birthday. I became quite attached to him. He was my security blanket, per say. He was and always has been very real to me. Maybe even more so than Woddy was to Andy. Puppy went to college with me, he even made it to Europe with me for my study abroad trip.

The night before Charles and I left for our honeymoon he asked, Puppy isn't going, is he?? I just kinda looked at him in awe and said, "of course he's going honeymooning!" You see how attached I was/am?

Charles didn't really care that much, he mostly just shook his head and poked fun at me every now and then.

A few months into my pregnancy with Kaleb, Charles started asking me, or more so teasing me about letting the baby have Puppy. At the time, it really bothered me to think about a baby chewing, drooling or tearing Puppy. Other than him having the grunge look, I took care of him and never abused him. I couldn't handle the thought of him getting "messed up" and Charles knew it. He'd always say stuff like, "you're so attached to him you aren't even going to let your own son touch him..."

I always tried to laugh it off or tell him he was being silly. Of course I was going to let my kid "play" with Puppy. I was about to be a mother, my stupid stuffed animal shouldn't mean anything to me anymore.

Fast forward a bit and yes, Charles was somewhat right, I didn't always let Kaleb hold or touch Puppy. Puppy stayed in my Kaleb got attached to a blankie so I didn't have to worry about him loving Puppy. Whew.

The teasing and jokes about Puppy and Kaleb never really quite. Charles always liked to find my buttons and push them, plus he knew I'd be so devastated if Puppy ever got damaged, or heaven help me, lost.

Now that Kaleb sleeps with me and has been for over a year, the three of us have gotten to know eachother well. To some extent, Kaleb knows that Puppy is mine and he knows he never belongs on the floor and he's never to be thrown. Puppy has made his peace with Kaleb and knows things are slightly different these days and there's a decent chance he'll get kicked off the bed at night or worse, get stuck in between the mattress and headboard. Everytime something like that happens, I have to laugh to myself because I think of Charles. I find myself saying, "see? See how far I've come? Letting Kaleb sleep with Puppy...see? You were wrong, I can let go."

At about 3 this morning, Kaleb woke up with severe croup. The coughing was out of control and he couldn't catch his breath. I ended up taking him to the ER, and most of you are well aware of how that goes...several hours later, we make it home. Kaleb was of course miserable. I laid him down for a nap and he said, I need to hold Puppy when I sleep.

I of course let him. I knew Puppy was up for the task.

After Kaleb woke up, he still didn't want to get out of bed so he asked for the iPad. After he had been playing for just a few minutes, he called me and said, "hey mommy! Look! Puppy is sitting up and he's watching me. He's really watching over me."

And sure enough, there he was, perfectly propped up on the bed, watching over my baby.

Silly to you? Maybe. But to me, it was an instant reminder that I'm not alone. Charles is here watching over us.

Days like these, when I'm the only parent dealing with hospital visits and such, they become overwhelming for me. I don't have Kaleb's dad to go with me to the ER. I don't have him here to help me through the night when croup is the scariest. It's just really hard and sometimes too much, but then I see Puppy over there, sitting upright, watching Kaleb and I know he's here. And I know we're gonna make it. Even if it means getting encouragement from a 30 year old rabbit who's name is Puppy...we're gonna make it.

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