I’m 25 and I still have the ‘stuffed rabbit’ given to me by family friends upon the occasion of my birth.
I used quotation marks because the poor thing is so roughed up now that it is genuinely hard to recognise as anything at all. It literally looks like a dirty old rag.
When he got holes in him or otherwise damaged when I was a kid, my mum would fix him up and he’d be OK. But gradually, the fixing lessened in both frequency and effectiveness.
The rabbit is now in three pieces - two separate ears and a body (no head left). I should mention that I am the only one who can tell that these pieces were once ears and a body. It has absolutely no stuffing left. It is just a few pieces of fabric, really. 99% of the fur is gone, leaving just the fabric mesh into which the fur was once woven. It used to be white. Now it is irretrievably grey, no amount of washing will un-grey it.
The two plastic ‘eyes’ that were once his, I now have in a box.
I was unable to sleep without it until I was about 15 - which is when he started to fall to pieces, forcing me to learn not to need him in order to sleep. But one thing I never got over was the feel of little knotted threads against my fingers. By the time I was a few years old, the threads and stitching had begun to fray and some of the errant strands became entangled and eventually knotted together, especially those on his ears. And I became addicted to rubbing my fingers across the hard little knots with an amount of pressure that almost-but-not-quite resulted in pain. My mother swears up and down that I used to rub my fingers against his ears in my sleep sometimes.
I find the feeling so comforting that, right now, in my top drawer there is a little stash of threads in which I have personally tied and tightened many knots, so that I may replicate it whenever I like. It soothes me a little when I am worried, but half the time I do it just for the hell of it.*
Even though it is not even a shadow of a rabbit to anyone but myself, ‘Bunny’ still lives in my bedroom and I must at least know WHERE it is before I go to sleep, and when I’m doing something like, say, internet browsing, I still - without thinking about it - reach out for part of it to hold or fiddle with in my hand absent-mindedly. I was doing that when I opened the thread and I’m doing it now.
I love that little rabbit.
- I truly dread having to explain all the psychological crap I have relating to this rabbit to an SO one day. I have never told anyone else this stuff. Feel privileged/disgusted as you wish, Dopers.