As parents, we all remember the myriad of transitional objects to which our children bonded. Generally, the objects were used by our children to fill the void left by the natural lessening of the child’s dependence on the mother.
Our kids were no exception. Our older daughter, Shelby, had PJ, a stuffed rabbit given to her by my mother. PJ was named by its manufacturer, and the name stuck. Shelby kept PJ far longer than most transitional objects, as PJ actually attended Berkeley with her. PJ has resided with us, still a fixture in Shelby’s room, since she graduated from college 13 years ago.
Shelby is a thirty something woman now. She is over eight months pregnant with her first child, our first grandchild. We, especially Pam, are really happy to have a grandchild on the way. Pam’s nesting instinct seems to have resurfaced for the first time in thirty odd years, and she has been buying all the items we need for the nursery in our house. Items that seem to inevitably require assembly. Today we built the changing table. Next week it is the crib. Pam built our last crib. She did a great job, even though she was inside its four sides when she got it all together.
Though PJ has resided with us for the past 13 years, his memory still lives inside of Shelby, and his impact on her life continues to be felt. So much so that when she and Bryan were choosing names for their child, Shelby had two criteria. First, she wanted an alliterative first and last name. As her last name is Powell, she needed a first name that began with the letter P. Several family members talked to her about the potential abuse her child might endure going through life with the initials PP, but the warnings fell on deaf ears. Second, she wanted her child’s middle name to start with the letter J, as she wanted to call her child PJ.