I made a promise to myself about four years ago, that if I ever ran across another piggie, I was going to get it. As a backup Piggie, I told myself, after the original Piggie had gone missing once for about a month.
Cole's beloved Beanie Baby piglet had disappeared once and we had searched high and low for that pig. He mourned, grieved and spent just about every waking moment looking for Piggie, his little 4-year old heart heavy for his favorite friend.
I was heartbroken as well. Cole had only had the little pig for a year and had bonded with the little plush; the fluffy swine had found a place in my heart as well as I had watched Cole play with him daily.
We looked for another Piggie to no avail.
"It wouldn't be Piggie," Cole would say forlornly.
I understood - it may look like the Pig-Pig, may be made by the same company, but it wasn't "The Piggie."
You can't replace something so loved. Nothing can.
"I'm sending Cole a box of pigs," my friend Carolyn e-mailed me, knowing Piggie had been missing. "They aren't ‘The Pig,' but maybe they will help until the Piggie is found."
The day the humongous box was delivered, Piggie serendipitously was found in the bottom of one of Cole's toy bins in his room - his pale beigey pink piglet practically invisible under the other toys.
"I knew once he got the box of pigs he would find Piggie," Carolyn said when we called her to express our gratitude and tell her the news. "That's why I tried to get them there sooner."
Even though they were not Piggie, they were still special.
"You still need a back-up Piggie," Mama would tell me.
"I know. I can't find another Piggie though," I said. "It's like Piggie was the one and only pig."
"Maybe they were MFEO," Mama said, thinking she was too cute for words for using the acronym for ‘made for each other.'
"Maybe so, Mama. I know I look everywhere and cannot find another beanie baby pig."
Until last week. Cole found a guide book to all the beanie babies through 1999 and we had to look at Piggie's predecessors. "What year was Piggie made?" Cole asked.
A check of the label showed Piggie was made in 2006.
"He didn't look like any of these pigs," Cole said, looking back through the guidebook.
I had to agree.
"Why do we have this?" he asked.
"Because I swore if I ever found another Piggie, I was going to get it."
Cole regarded me seriously.
"Mama, you know even if it was identical to Piggie, it wouldn't be Piggie."
"I know that. But I thought it would be nice to have for your child one day."
Cole had not thought of this but thought this was a good idea.
"But you never found another Pig Pig?" he asked.
I shook my head.
"No. And believe me, I checked every time I saw a beanie baby display."
"Did you Google it?" he asked.
For some reason, the thought of searching online for a Beanie Baby pig had never crossed my mind. A quick search brought up hundreds of pigs but in the midst of the screen full of peachy, pinky, plushy pigs was another Piggie.
I almost didn't recognize the pig. The brand new pig had eyes; Piggie hadn't had eyes in years, losing them thanks to the Border Collie.
Piggie also had battle scars and one ear had been torn at the base and had so much scar tissue from my horrendous sewing, I don't think it could be fixed. Piggie was also half the pig had originally been, losing the majority of his beanies to the various wounds he has incurred over the years.
Piggie apparently had gained some in street value however. The pig that Lamar had fussed about paying $10 for nearly six years ago was listed for $34.99 online.
Cole frowned at the price. That was a lot of bacon for a stuffed pig. But I had said, if I ever found another Piggie - the real deal pig - I was going to get it.
I knew what to do. I texted Mama.
"Another Piggie, $34.99. Should I buy or no?"
Mama wanted to know if it was indeed a bonafide piggy pig. I sent her a photo.
"Buy it. Tell Cole I will get it for him! We gotta get the pig!"
Cole watched as I clicked the "buy now" button and let out a scream of pure, happy joy over the thought of having a new Piggie on the way.
"Can I hug it before I put it up?" he asked. I nodded.
"Can I maybe play with it some? Piggie's been needing a back-up pig in some of his adventures." I told him he could.
"You just got one, right?" he asked. I nodded. "What if I have two children? You think you should order another one?"
I told him no, they could learn how to share.
He was happy as a pig in mud. I was happy my child was so happy.
"But Mama, this Piggie is not to replace the original pig, right?"
"Right," I said. "Besides, even though it will look just like Piggie did when we first got him, he can never replace Piggie."
Cole agreed, a happy content little smile growing on his face. And that smile, of course made it all worth it.
Money may not buy happiness, but it could buy an identical piggy on the Internet.
Sudie Crouch is an award winning humor columnist and author of the recently e-published novel, "The Dahlman Files: A Tony Dahlman Paranormal Mystery."