The Sweetest Surprise 

My daughter has a stuffed Beanie Baby pup named Sweetie Pie. Although she has a menagerie of stuffed friends, since receiving Sweetie Pie the two are inseparable. Lillian mothers Sweetie Pie by pretending to feed and bath her and always makes sure her beloved pup has plenty of toys to play with. Lillian sleeps with Sweetie Pie and she never leaves home without her. Sweetie Pie traveled to California and Kentucky with us and even rode on a few rides at Disneyland!

A few weeks ago, during a normal shopping trip to Sam’s Club, my daughter decided to bring Sweetie Pie into the store instead of leaving her in the car like usual. While walking past the bakery, my daughter asked, “Where is Sweetie Pie?” I looked in the cart but she wasn’t there. We retraced our steps but were unable to find the missing dog! My daughter’s face turned from optimism to sheer worry. Knowing how my daughter adores her stuffed toy I said an extra prayer as we made our way to the customer service counter to see if someone had found Sweetie Pie and turned her in. Unfortunately no one had and the look of disappointment on my daughter’s face will forever be etched in my mind.

I told my daughter I would call the store later in the day to see if Sweetie Pie had been found. At the same time I prepared her for the possibility that Sweetie Pie was gone and wasn’t coming back. On the verge of tears, we loaded up the car and headed for home. Although only two, my daughter absorbs everything she hears. During our drive home she was unusually quiet. When I peeked at her through the rear view mirror she appeared to be in deep thought, contemplating my every word. The silence was broken when my backseat passenger declared “I have another pup at home, “Jingle Pup.”

She tried to carry on with her day but like anyone who has lost something they cherish and love; it was clear Sweetie Pie was on her mind. Every so often she would say, “Where is Sweetie Pie’s house?” or accidentally call out “Sweetie Pie” when she meant to say “Jingle Pup.” I was proud of my little girl for making the best out of a disappointing situation. 

Another call to Sam’s Club ended with the reality that Sweetie Pie was lost, lost forever. Lillian appeared to be moving on but for some reason I felt unsettled. Was I missing Sweetie Pie more than she was? Maybe my motherly instinct had kicked in and I simply wanted to “fix” the lost dog scenario for my baby girl.? 

Since there are more than 2,000 different kinds of Ty Beanie Babies in the world finding another Sweetie Pie would be a challenge. Then I remembered my friend Shirley Hogan. Shirley is a retired general music teacher who used to play clarinet with me in the Northwinds Concert Band. During a recent visit to Ms. Shirley’s house, we discovered she had a collection of Beanie Babies that she used in her music classroom. The students loved discovering the Beanie Babies’ birth dates, often finding one that matched their special day. Each stuffed animal comes with a poem that Ms. Shirley creatively turned into a song that her students enjoyed singing. I debated about making the call to Ms. Shirley because I don’t want Lillian to grow up thinking that mommy and daddy can fix every lemon that life throws her way. We won’t be able to make everything right no matter how hard we try. My determination and problem solving won out and  I made the call.

A few hours later the doorbell rang. We were surprised to find Ms. Shirley at our door! She was carefully carrying a red paper bag and after inviting her inside she gave Miss Lillian the mystery package to open. Lillian’s face lit up and a huge smile emerged on her little round face when she discovered her beloved Sweetie Pie inside. She took the stuffed dog in her arms and gently pressed it to her face in a loving embrace! Thanks to Ms. Shirley and her remarkable act of kindness, girl and pup have been happily reunited. It was the sweetest gift our Miss Lillian has ever received. 

Lillian discovers Sweetie Pie!
Mommy, Lillian, Sweetie Pie and Ms. Shirley

Life has returned to normal in the Talley household. Being careful not to cause any hard feelings, Lillian gave Jingle Pup to her daddy and Sweetie Pie has gone back to being her favorite lovie. Sweetie Pie still goes everywhere with us but Lillian always makes sure Sweetie Pie stays in the car. It looks like my little toddler learned a few lessons after all. 

2 thoughts on “The Sweetest Surprise 

  1. Little people have big feelings and even bigger hearts. Thank you, Ms. Shirley for being a heroine in Lillian’s life.


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