Day 14: An Item That Gives You Confidence

Let’s go way back. I mean WAY back. My first Christmas. It was 1981 and I lived in Boise Idaho. Understandably, I had no conceivable idea what was going on. To be frank, I do not remember this day. However, there is one thing from this day that I still have. Rather, it belongs to someone who needs it more, but we will get to that in a moment.


For 35 years this beloved stuffed dog has been by my side. Almost every trip to the hospital (usually for stitches) she was my bedfellow. Every illness, from the sniffles to croup, she was my comfort. Even as I grew up, she was always there. In fact, much to my own amusement, she deployed with me, every time. Countless hours have been spent talking through problems, dealing with heartbreak, and being my silent journal. The secrets I have spoken to her, will never be told.

But, she is no longer mine. When my daughter went in for her first Cranio surgery, Buffy and I had a long talk. I told her that she had gotten me this far, and needed to trust I could carry myself from here. The night before we went to the hospital, I was sitting next to Zoey’s crib, tears running down my face. I knew that Buffy did such an awesome job keeping me alive, and being there for me, and that my daughter needed her more. I left Buffy in her crib that night. All of my love, tears, joy, fears, my heart is embodied by this raggedy stuffed dog.

Buffy was no longer mine.


The next morning, Zoey had Buffy in her arms. When she was taken back to surgery, Buffy was in her arms. While I was writing This Room, feeling empty and void of joy, Buffy was right next to my daughter, because I could not be. Since that day, the bond between Zoey and Buffy regales the one we shared. Every trip to the hospital, Buffy is there. When Zoey is recovering from surgery, or sick and hating the world, Buffy is there.

It is my hope that long after I am gone, and Zoey has become the amazing and beautiful woman she is destined to become, that when she misses me, Buffy will still be there.


Live big, love bigger, and be kind, always.

Well, this happened yesterday

There are going to be a ton of pictures on this post, you may find it best to view it in its entirety on

For those of you that are new here, there is a stuffed animal that my daughter LOVES and so do I.  You see, for my first Christmas I was given this stuffed dog, and I named her Buffy.  Buffy has been to hell and back with me.  From trips to the ER as a kid, to deployments while I was serving in the Army, Buffy has always been there. In a childhood that many would consider chaotic, she has been my constant security.

When my daughter went in for her first surgery at the age of three months, I knew what I had to do.  Through a small, silly, moment, I released Buffy from needing to look out for me, and to take care of my little girl.  The love that Zoey has showered upon Buffy… well, it makes my heart swell.However, Buffy has been showing her age.  I mean, I was not the easiest on her, and my daughter… well, she IS my daughter. My wife has even done her best to repair, re-stuff, and restore Buffy, but it has not been enough.

This weekend at church my wife reached out to one of her friends because her mother makes these amazing teddy bears, and we wanted to see if she could take a look at her.  She agreed! So, we had to have a talk with Zoey about taking Buffy to ‘the hospital to be fixed’.  As a side note, I REALLY wish that my 4 year old daughter was not as familiar with terminology relating to surgery, and hospital stays…..

Zoey obliged, and we moved into action.


She loved on Buffy a little more, and then packed her up in her bag.


We loaded the car, Buffy was then taken out of the bag and held the whole way to ‘the hospital’


David was there in support the whole way


I will say, there is something as equally heartbreaking as inspiring as hearing you 4 year old give her stuffed animal a kiss, tell the animal ‘bye’ and ‘see you soon’, as she hands her beloved friend over.  After dropping Buffy off for an inpatient stay we headed out to a new place, to help take her mind off of what will be going on for the next few days.

We have never been to Build-A-Bear, and we were thankful that we were given gift cards for the kids for Christmas (we knew something like this would be coming so we held off). The experience was magical!

In the end, Zoey picked a new rabbit and David a bear.  We will find out in a few days what the outcome of Buffy will be, if she can be fixed or if we need to look into the next level of care…..


And Zoey… is very happy with her new buddy, though she did ask about Buffy last night as she was falling asleep.  After a little conversation with her about what Buffy was going through she snuggled her rabbit, looked a me and said “Buffy Oh Tay! ni ni” and I teared up a little as she drifted off to sleep.


Every morning Zoey wakes up holding on to “Buffy”, a Le Mutt puppy passed down from her dad.  It’s about as old as he is.  I re-stuffed and mended it while I was expecting her.  It makes us smile to see how much Zoey has taken to her old/new stuffed puppy.  She will carry it around every morning until I tell her to let it go night-night in her crib.