This is Mr. Snuggles.
He may not be a very big monkey but he is soft, and cuddly, and always has a smile on his face.
We departed in the wee hours of the morning. The time of night even the owls don’t stay up for.
I spent the whole night crying, clutching Mr. Snuggles for support, he always knows how to make me feel right.
It was the beginning of a new chapter, but I wanted to keep reading the last one. Anxious, happy, and sad emotions bubbling through my brain, I turned the key in the ignition, placed Mr. Snuggles firmly between my the passenger and drivers seat and started on our way.
26 hours of driving, 26 hours until the change that I had been asking for for so many years was finally in my grasp.
So why did it still feel so unreal?
Rob held my hand in the car ride. We had to keep reminding ourselves this was really happening. I was starting a new job, in a new state, and we would be living in a new city. Far, far away. This was not just my dream- it was our dream.
My father says I do everything with my heart. “Why don’t you think with your head?” he exclaims.
But I do think with my head- it’s just that my heart has a stronger pull and it’s never led me a stray. Meanwhile my head has sent me on wild goose chases and made me double and triple check things that were right in the first place.
This journey felt right- in my heart and in my mind- and I think that was why I was crying as I left that day. I was crying because it was coming true.
As a girl I was always a dreamer and thank God for dreams! What other way can we travel to distant lands, do things we would never dream of doing, and be the people we’ve always wished to be. Turning dreams into reality can be a tough, hard road but it’s possible if you keep holding on.
Mr. Snuggles knows my trials and tribulations. He arrived one morning with a bouquet of flowers the day of my surgery for endometriosis.
I hobbled to the door, my head groggy from the anesthesia, and to my surprise wad met with a big, smiley brown monkey and a bunch of lovely flowers. The note read, Get Well Soon, Friends Forever, Nicole Rowe.
My beautiful friend Nicole knows what it means to go through turbulent times. Everyday Nicole suffers through more pain than any of us can imagine- a lifetime sentence when you are diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.
And yet, she sent me that monkey on my recovery day. The day I needed a smile.
I know it is just a stuffed monkey, it probably means nothing to most.
But it means a lot to me.
Clutching that monkey was what kept me hanging on.
So it was so fitting that he was sitting beside Rob and I as we began the next chapter. Strong, like a bridge, forever showing his moral support.
As if he were saying, “onward” or “forward” or “tallyho.”
And through the rain and lightening and significant lack of sleep we made our way.
Until the sign said “welcome to Florida.”
And so the next chapter begins.