Today, Valentine’s day, is the 1-year anniversary of Maxx quitting pacifiers and me quitting smoking. Cold turkey for both of us. Obviously, it was our idea for her to give up her pacifier, but it was her idea for me to give up smoking.
For awhile we had been preparing her for giving up her pacifier one day — talking about how, even though it was comforting and part of her daily routine, it was bad for her mouth and that it would be healthier to give it up. One day as we were talking about it she suddenly asked, “So, then are you going to stop smoking?”
She had a point. I allowed that maybe that was a good idea and we could both quit together. She took my half-hearted assent as a solid commitment and cheerfully announced that we should do it on Valentine’s day — which was about six months away at that point. That seemed far enough away for me, so I agreed.
So six months later on Valentine’s day we went together to Build-A-Bear at the mall — a place where you can build, stuff, and accessorize your own teddy bear. We picked out matching empty bear skins, she put her pacifier in one, I put my last pack of cigarettes in the other, and then we stuffed them up and the lady working there sewed them up for us. Turns out she was a recovering alcoholic, and she commiserated a bit with us and offered each of us words of surprisingly genuine support.
The first day was easy — a shared adventure. The following days were worse. And still, it was made significantly better by working through the loss together. She’d ask me how I was doing, and I did the same. At night when it was hard for her to fall asleep we’d discuss tips and tricks. In the morning when I started the days — coffee and no cigarette — I thought of her.
We became our own little Sucking-On-Things Anonymous support group.
Together we both got through the next two weeks, and then turned a corner. We stopped thinking about it, talking about it, and then… that was pretty much it. We just recently talked about it again, and we each agreed it was hard to imagine wanting to go back.
So, happy Valentine’s Day, Maxx!