When I was born, Rachel received Dapel, who was fluffy and white, with a pink bow on her head.
Rachel asked me what to name her, and I babbled something close enough to Dapel that the name stuck.
Rachel left home when I was three. She went away to high school. Since we don't have any other sisters (though we do have three brothers), we were always very close.
When she left, anything that was hers became very important to me. I mean, hey, my sister may be a hundred miles away, but I've still got the dirty socks she was wearing last time she came home! And hey, they even smell like her dirty feet!
(and I'm not exagerrating here) I worshipped my big sister, and everything of hers was really special to me. When she was away, she'd let me hold on to Dapel, and when she moved to Israel, when I was 7, she let me keep her.
I slept with Dapel every night - couldn't sleep without her - because it was a way of holding on to my big sister.
Dapel went through everything with me. When I had lice in 6th grade, she went through the laundry a good six times. When my brothers wanted to tease me, they'd put her in the oven, and once, one of them actually put her on a fork, and roasted her on an open fire. (There wasn't terribly much damage.) Somewhere along the line, I gave her a haircut, and after that, she's worn the sweater featured in the picture. Her hair never quite grew back... Dapel made around ten transatlantic flights with me. She's been with me the whole time.
My mom used to tease me. She asked me if I'd keep Dapel when I was in college. I said yes, and for three years, Dapel lived in my college dorm room.
She asked me what I'd do if my husband had a stuffed toy animal, and I said "Great, they'll play together."
My husband has a foam rubber skull. They DON'T play together. Dapel sleeps in our bed, and Charlie sleeps in the guest room closet.