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She gave them both a hug, her two favorite stuffed animals, and dropped them into a pillowcase. She watched as they were placed in the washing machine and once the cycle started she wiped the tears from her cheeks. Tuffy, the little stuffed dog she sleeps with every night, and Fluffy, her go-to stuffed animal that’s not very fluffy at all. She’s had them forever, you could tell by their scent.

She’d heard horror stories of toys that belonged to her mother and me being washed when we were kids that somehow didn’t survive. Toys we loved that fell apart, that lost pieces, that didn’t make it through the spinning and the drying to look like new on the other side. She closed her eyes and whispered a prayer, hoping to be reunited with her friends unharmed within the hour.

Sometimes we have to step back and take an honest look at the things we hold closest to us. Sometimes we have to acknowledge their function in our lives, we have to assess our need for them, we have to ask ourselves what void they’re filling or what service they’re providing. Sometimes we have to rid ourselves of them or repurpose them and sometimes we have to cleanse them and hope for the best.

She heard the dryer finish and ran to the door. She reached into the pillowcase and she pulled out Tuffy, then Fluffy. She hugged them again, warm and tight to her chest, comfort and security in toy form. She skipped up the stairs and placed them back on her bed where they would wait until nighttime prayers were said and bedtime stories were read. Sometimes old can be new again.

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