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  • Writer's pictureTamara S. Graham

For The Love of Mice

Updated: Jan 30, 2022

Once upon a time, most little girls fell in love with horses, but I was not like most little girls. I have always loved mice. Not the real life ones, but more like in artwork or stuffed animals. As a child, I had loved drawing cute little imaginary mice that looked nothing like Mickey. I loved round tummies and simple faces with bows, hats and human looking clothing.

I imagined they lived in little mushrooms houses with animated flowers and insects as neighbors.

I had wanted a whole community of them. Here are some of my teenage doodles that I recently found in a storage box. I was so grateful that these old, worn papers had survived all of my moves.

Fast forward a few decades as I finally realized my dream of writing children's books and I had asked my illustrator to create a mouse as a secondary activity to find in my first published children's book. The first story in the series of 9 has a boy mouse on most pages semi-hidden in the scenes for the kids to find as they read, but never actually mentioned in the text. It was a sort of invisible companion of nurturing strength, like a guardian angel mouse that the reader could secretly find at their own pace. He has his hand in the "I love you" American Sign Language pose to offer love as Sunshine travels through the story. Can you find the mouse on the cover?

The second book, still in production, has a sweet girl mouse that is wearing a tutu and a hat that reminds me of when my daughter was little - always playing dress up and wearing a tutu or leotard any time that she could.

Imagine my delight as a 58 year old woman with grown children when I discovered a Danish toy company that had created my dream mice! How had I never heard of Maileg here in the United States? The Maileg company (pronounced My-Lie) began in Denmark in1999, when my daughter would have been 8. She and I would have flipped for these adorable, sweet mice with their hand finished unique characteristics. I would have gladly switched our obsession from Beanie Babies to these classic style mice that have clothing and accessories any child would adore. I guess she was too old when Maileg USA began in 2008. But once I did discover the Maileg mice in March of 2021, I sure fell down the rabbit hole - or in this case the mouse hole! You can read more about my love at first sight in my other blog, "My Maileg Story Begins with a Story". I am grateful that I discovered Maileg in time to potentially share with grandchildren, if I am lucky enough to have them one day.

My first Maileg mice were kind of surrogates to represent my own grown children, since they live so far away from me. Naturally, I had to buy the little sister ballerina in a tutu to represent Tiara, and the big brother in a blue striped shirt that looked just like one of my favorite photos of my son Jonah! I loved setting scenes up to imagine they were still kids playing together. It helped me when I missed them.

Soon, I discovered Maileg made a chef mouse and I had to laugh at the irony because my second children's book in the series is about a chef. Oh I was having so much fun! I cannot believe how quickly I took to these mice! I was instantly smitten.

I often sent my now 30 year old daughter photos of special scenes to cheer her up or help her feel better when she was sick. We are very close and missed each other so much. I often asked her for professional advice since she had studied scenic design and had worked for a few years as a product photographer, and I was limited with space and lighting in my 500 square foot home.

Across the 1,700 miles that separated us, I sent her love from a nurse mouse scene hoping she would feel the care and heal faster when she was sick. I also set up a photo for my 35 year old son while he was traveling abroad to help him stay safe, at least in my heart. Maileg helped this mother's heart heal and find joy in the daily musings of my mice.

I began to send bunny rabbits to my daughter to start her own collection. Tiara loved rabbits as a child, and I had decided I would only collect mice from Maileg for myself. As you can see that didn't last long and I will be discussing my many thoughts on that topic in future blogs.

These sweet little mice had reignited a passion that I had discovered when I began blogging a few years ago - I loved creating little sets and photographing the exact images that I needed to depict what I was trying to say with words. And as the saying goes, "a picture is worth a thousand words"! My heart was speaking with that creative type of language - endearing pictures with love!

It is because of Maileg that I have found so much joy in a time of uncertainty on this planet. I honestly think I would not have survived emotionally during the isolation/quarantine and not being able to travel to see my adult children for so long. The collecting, adoring, photographing and posting on social media has been a crucial part of my happiness and given me more purpose in life. I look forward to many more years of collecting and sharing my thoughts with you. Stay tuned for more about my very first dollhouse at age 59!

Tami is a creative writer with a passion for children, animals and emotional intelligence. Being a mother has been her hardest and most rewarding job since her unique and sensitive children have been her greatest inspiration and teachers. She is currently writing a series of children’s books called The Sunshine Books which are about a young girl named Sunshine who is an old soul with a big heart. Follow this Maileg Mom blog for more of her musings about mice and all things Maileg. She is busy creating more content and you can also find Maileg Mom on Instagram and YouTube channel.

{Copyright 2021-2022 - Most photos are the property of Tamara S. Graham unless noted otherwise}

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