This is my pillow.
* It is covered with pictures of African grassland animals, not a thriving biohazard community.
This is not my sleeping-at-night-in-a-bed pillow. I am a Grown-Up and I have a fluffy, white, safari-free one for that. It is my napping-on-the-couch-instead-of-balancing-my-checkbook pillow.
It is not actually very comfortable. My mom made it when I was three or four, and I used it for car trips and hitting my brother until the stuffing formed five or six large, tough clumps. This development made the pillow less satisfactory for sleeping but much more satisfactory as a weapon.
Eventually he got big enough to fight back, so the pillow was retired to a corner with the creepy stuffed cat and that baby doll whose legs were eaten by the dog.
One day in middle school, I came home to discover that my mom had been sewing. She had retrieved my decrepit pillow and lovingly refilled it with fresh, fluffy stuffing, cleverly transforming a disused childhood treasure into a functional element of my young adult life.
This was not okay.
The old stuffing had suddenly become crucially important to my emotional wellbeing. After several volleys of tearful accusations, my poor, bemused mother pointed me to the sewing room trash can, where the discarded clumps were headed for their eternal rest. I cleaned away all the clinging threads and scraps of fabric, savagely cast out the new filling, and returned things to their proper and natural state with a great sense of righteousness.
Using this pillow now is a lot like covering the ground with a sheet and some rocks and hoping you hit just right. I triumphed over the demons of change, though, and those lumps are my badge of honor. Along with the bruises on my head.