In preschool, I had a friend named Guitardi. That’s Guh-tar-dee. She was a baby doll so big that she was bigger than a guitar, hence the name. I used to take Guitardi around with me everywhere. Throw her here, toss her there. Guitardi slouched over on the swing. Guitardi stuck deep in mud in the garden. Many days were spent this way. Eventually, I got a new doll to replace Guitardi. My mother threw my tattered doll away and I thought nothing of it. In more recent years, I have looked back on my friend Guitardi and, questioning her whereabouts, interrogated my mother. When I heard the news of her death many years ago, I was crushed. My poor Guitardi alone in the trash.
As children, we can’t help but be a little bit selfish. It’s not bad, we can’t control it. It’s just the way we know to be true before we are taught how to care for others. Either it’s staring at that one different looking kid at the park or grabbing for the best crayons at the coloring table. We’ve all been there whether we know it or not. Adults, however, are different. Though some may not show it, they are aware and have empathy for others and their relationships with them. Mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles. This is the psychological event that separates childhood and adulthood; being able to care, respect, and think about others instead of oneself. This transition is much like my feelings for my discarded friend. I had always cared about Guitardi but not enough to question where she had gone when my mother threw her in the trash. When I started to question and think about others, whether plastic or not, I had started to become my own person. An adult person.
Childhood interactions are fleeting and irrelevant. Ignorance is bliss as a little boy plays without hesitation in the sandbox with a little girl he’ll never see again. The adult relationship is more permanent and momentous. The business partners, bosses, clients, employees. The adult relationship is not something that can be built up in one day playing in the sand. The adult relationship is not something to be thrown in the trash and mindlessly replaced. The adult relationship is not to go unnoticed when it is deep in the mud beside you. While reflecting on Guitardi pinpointed a spot in my life when I became aware of others’ feelings, it also marked when I became conscious of the importance of a strong relationship. I had never appreciated the bond between my big baby doll and I when I had her, nor when I was given my new doll to replace her. Only in looking back on all the good times we had, did I discover the admiration that I had for Guitardi. It still amazes me how a single, small, plastic human has influenced me so much throughout my life.