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The Story of a Boy and his Lion

8 October, 2011

This is not a sad tale nor a cautionary one (unlike a book we borrowed from the library recently based on this poem). This story is of my little boy and his favourite soft toy.

Once a upon a time, in a place not so very far from here (in fact, about three blocks from where we live) a little boy was born (actually, he wasn’t really that little at all).  He was given the name Josiah, after the child-king in the Bible.

Josiah was not alone in this world, for he had a brother and two sisters to keep him company.  He was also surrounded by uncles, aunts, grandparents, godparents and many family friends.

Josiah had a Grandpa, who loved him very much (I’m sure no more or no less than any of his other grandparents, but the fact is that Josiah was loved, and the object in question was a gift from his Grandpa). Grandpa gave Josiah a small gift when he was born – a toy lion.  There was nothing particularly special about this lion (in fact I think it was bought on clearance at the local grocery shop) except that it was given with love.

I took this photo on my old (and very outdated, even at the time) phone, so the quality is as good as it gets, I’m afraid.  However, this picture is special because it is the first picture we have of Josiah and his lion.

Josiah grew, and, at first, he didn’t seem to have a preference for this toy or the other, but around his first birthday he was showing a bit of a preference for his lion.  We had a bit of a preference for it, too, as it matched nicely with the quilt his Aunty Rachael had made for him.  It also matched nicely with his middle name, Ryan (which means little king).

His Aunty Rachael (who is exceedingly clever, creative and has always been generous for as long as I’ve known her – and considering she’s my little sister, I can say that’s a fair while) also made him this beautiful birthday cake for his first birthday, to go with that theme.

The cake-topper lion has survived this last year, although only just. This is due to a dreadful mauling incident involving a little girl who shall remain nameless.  Unfortunately for the lion (or fortunately, as you would normally consider mauling incidents between little girls and big cats) the lion was the worse for the incident.

It seems that little girls find sugar-lions just as tasty as real lions would find little girls.  His head now floats above his body and will only face sideways or backwards, not forwards.  His mane is lacking the same thickness and lustre it once did, probably from the stress of losing his tail and hind leg.

However, this is a tale about a BOY and his LION not about a boy and his sister who has a thing for eating lions.

So, Josiah had developed a preference for his lion.  He would take it to bed most nights (although he was content enough to take another toy when his lion could not be found, or take no toy at all if needed).  He liked to carry it around the house.  He would sometimes take it in the car, but we always left it safely in the car so as not to lose it (although he may have made a trip or two to Granny’s house).

The lion had come out of the house with us on a few special occasions though.  Josiah’s lion had come to the hospital with us when Josiah was suddenly hospitalised for two nights.  He also had ventured out on holidays with us (which had also involved a hospital trip).  This lion had become SPECIAL.

Then, disaster struck.  Well, it wasn’t a disaster at first.  It was just that one day we couldn’t find his lion at bedtime.  No biggie, just give him another toy.  But then we couldn’t find him the next night, or the next, or the next.  He didn’t seem to be fretting about it, but we were a little sad and also completely miffed as to where this lion, who rarely left the house (being a bit of a homebody), could possibly be.

We looked in every room, in the soft toy basket, under beds, in drawers… and he was nowhere to be found.  We were feeling a bit sad, but what could we do?  Thankfully Josiah (with his very limited verbal skills… but that’s a post for another day) wasn’t expressing any signs of missing his friend, but we still wanted to find it for him.

Then, one Sunday,  we were having a quiet Resting Day at home together after church.  The big children and Mark were playing up at the table with Lego and I was playing with the little two on the floor with the duplo.  I pulled the big box of duplo out from the just-above-floor-height cupboard shelf it was on.  A minute or so later, Josiah started pointing and making noise.  The “Uh-uh” I want it type noise.  I looked…  and there was his lion, stuffed in the back of the shelf, behind where the duplo box had been.

I quickly rescued the somewhat squished lion from the back of the cupboard and handed him to Josiah, who hugged him tightly.  I think I was as equally pleased and relieved to have him found.

 

Nowadays, Josiah likes to sleep with his lion every night, and reaches around in his cot for him if he can’t see it when he first gets in the cot.  He will accept another toy if needed, but he does prefer his lion.  He often wants to bring it when he gets up in the morning, although we have an objection to Josiah sharing his breakfast with his lion (but not lunch, apparently, as you can see in the photo).

His lion has been dunked in the bath and had his feet dipped into a bucket of water.  He has had vegemite smears on his face and been given a liberal coating of yoghurt.  He has been cuddled, bitten, thrown, sat on and used as a pillow.

Josiah’s lion often gets cuddled then laid down on a cushion, after which we are all told to “shh” because it is asleep.  Despite being Josiah’s favourite toy, he is generous with sharing cuddles with others.

Recently, as we browsed an op shop, we spotted another identical lion and figured it was good to have as a back up.  50c changed hands and he was ours.  Josiah knows he has two lions – he’s more than happy to cuddle both – and doesn’t show partiality for one or the other (or maybe he does, since it’s most often his original one that I can’t find because he’s left it somewhere).

So here ends the happy tale of a boy and his lion.

Happy Second Birthday Josiah!  We wish you a hundred or more birthdays ahead, but more importantly that you will grow to love and serve the Lord.

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