It is with great regret, and a tiny bit of relief, that I announce that Duckie and Betty, after a four and half year intense relationship, have parted ways. In a statement earlier today, Betty announced that Duckie was now happiest with his 'boy duck friend' resting in a little crib she lovingly prepared for them next to her bed.
He/she (the gender of the duck changed from day to day to suit Betty) hasn't been totally abandoned and is allowed to 'rest' in her bedroom, but no longer does he get to: be a player in all major decisions, go away on weekend breaks, watch CBeebies, partake in meal times, play fairies and princesses, and be breastfed, cuddled, squeezed, chewed and talked at, 24/7. And I very much doubt his little Christmas stocking that I dutifully made for him at Betty's request a few Christmases ago, to match her own stocking, will ever see the light of day again.
Although this is a time of great sadness (Tom is in denial about the whole thing) and we in the Button household feel this new development marks a huge transition in the life of Betty Button, this sadness also comes with a real sense of relief. The duck had become smelly, threadbare and discoloured and no amount of washing could remedy this. No longer do I have the stress of Betty coming to me (on a weekly basis, of late) to show me a new hole in his wing and asking if I can sew it up for her - it got to the point where there was no material left on his wing to actually sew up. And no longer do we have to live in fear of the duck getting lost.
That duck, who hailed from H&M on Kensington High St, has been in Betty's life since before she was even born and meant more to her than her own parents. Perhaps now, Tom and I will get the respect and love we deserve and crave from our first-born.
To mark the retirement of Duckie, and the end of an era, I leave you with a picture of him lovingly drawn by Betty, back in the good old days....