Denver the stuffed tiger.

While my wife was pregnant with our middle son, we took a trip to the Denver zoo. Our oldest boy and our only boy at the time was two years old. What I remember from that trip was mostly how hot it was but also that we bought him a gift at the gift shop. It was a stuffed tiger and my son named him Denver.

That trip was special because it was out first trip as a family to another state. It was our first time as parents at a zoo. But most importantly, it was when we acquired the black striped, orange cotton ball that would prove to be the protector of each of our sons.

My oldest boy fell asleep with Denver the tiger every night until he needed him no more. Denver slept then until my middle child discovered the feline protector and Denver was needed once again.

This cycle has repeated to my youngest son who is sleeping with Denver as I write. He can’t sleep without him.

I owe this stuffed animal an unpayable debt. He has provided security for my boys through countless nights now. He has in fact been an integral part of our family.

I am not a nostalgic person. I believe that memories belong in my head. There are few objects that actually hold sentimental value to me but Denver the tiger is one of them. .

It’s funny, the things that will eventually gain great meaning in your life. So thanks for the memories Denver, and sweet dreams.