I loved my T-Rex when I was a kid. Other girls my age played with Barbies and My Little Ponies. But when I was a 9-year-old girl, I loved to learn about the universe, planets, geology and especially dinosaurs. I played with dinosaurs. I had a whole collection. Different species with different shapes, colors and sizes. I was fascinated. I had this one particular dinosaur that I adored. He wasn’t fluffy or beautiful. He was made out of hard plastic and he was ugly, but he would be on my nightstand in my bedroom. He looked very scary, but that didn’t matter to me. To me he was a gorgeous creature, a miracle of evolution, and that was the most important thing.
This past week I have been thinking a lot about my T-Rex. He is home to me; he represents being taken care of when I’m sick. He brings me back to those memories of what it feels like to be sick and stay in bed all day and have someone to take care of you, to bring you broth, soup, tea and fruit when you’re not feeling well. Someone who takes your temperature every few hours to monitor whether your fever goes up or down.
When I was a child and I was sick and had to stay in bed for two whole weeks, my T-Rex was by my bedside watching over me. Lying down I listened to music and when the doctor allowed me to sit up straight for a little while I played with my dinosaurs. The soft bedsheets were the grasslands, the dark heavy blanket was the forest. Herbivores, such as my triceratops, stegosaurus, diplodocus and brachiosaurus were on the grasslands. My T-rex and the allosaurus hid in the woods until they would come out and chase the herbivores. Some of them got eaten, others escaped. Sometimes the allosaurus and the T-Rex would run after each other and start fighting. Life was tough in my imaginary dinoworld. In the real world the allosaurus who lived during the late Jurassic Period would have never encountered a T-Rex who lived during the upper Cretaceous Period. Allosaurus was long gone before T-Rex evolved. But in my world, they all met and they each had their individual stories. And when T-Rex got hurt, I would bind his wounds, and I would take care of him like he took care of me.
I still have my T-Rex. He is in the Netherlands safely tucked away in my old room. One day I will come and get him and bring him to the United States, back to the continent where he was originally from: North America.
To read more about T-Rex:
T-Rex is coming home to Smithsonian: