Daisy is a pretty little stuffed lamb that came into our home when my daughter was only four. Daisy has moved with us around the world from Plantation, FL to Silver Springs, MD, back to Plantation and then Lake Mary, FL before we relocated to Kampala, Uganda then moved back to Lake Mary, FL . She now lives with us in Nairobi, Kenya where we have already had two homes in as many years. We nearly lost her once in Mbarara, Uganda when the neighbors kids took a fancy to Daisy and borrowed her to play. My daughter's distraught reaction to that incident made me worry about her devotion to Daisy. I feared that Daisy symbolized some kind of deep seated feeling that could not be expressed in words. Now I regard Daisy as a symbol of the familiar: She is one of the few things in Jojo's life that has remained constant and predictable as I dragged my family across the world from one job to the next, one calling to the next, from one home to another. When I think of my childhood and youth there are only three homes I remember and only one that I call my childhood home because we stayed there longest. I had the stability of remaining in one place for years, decades. We got to know the neighbors and they became extended family at a time when Kampala was safe enough for kids to walk around the neighborhood without fear. We had mango trees and guava trees growing in the backyard and ate their fruit for many seasons. We completed primary school, secondary school, high school and joined university with the same group of friends. All this we took for granted and found rather confining so we dreamed of going abroad, far, far away from the familiar neighborhood of our childhood and youth. My daughter is 17 and Daisy hasn't grown at all but she is still one of the most loved and well taken care of stuffed toys ever. She represents the past and the familiar in Jojo's life...the mango trees and guava trees of my childhood in Nakasero.
At 50 I know not to dismiss the strong attachment that we have to our favorite things. They are the thread that weaves the tapestry of our life; the glue that holds together the memories that paint the mural that is the story of our lives.