Our nine-year-old collects small stuffed foxes. The fascination began in first grade when he was struggling with controlling his emotions at school, and after reading a book about a fox, we explained that the reason the fox survived was because he never let his anger get the best of him. He out-smarted everyone else by staying cool and calm. “Be the fox,” we would say each morning before school. And with that, he began bringing a stuffed fox to school. If things went awry, the teacher knew to send him to his backpack to snuggle with Foxy until he felt better.
Two years and fifteen small foxes later, I went to tuck him into bed, where seven foxes sat in line along his pillow (a few more on the bedside table).
“They’re in order of the day of the week that I snuggle with them.”
He pulled Sunday’s fox to his chest and curled up under the covers, the other foxes lightly touching his back, patiently waiting for their night in a little boy’s embrace.