Stop me if you've heard this one before. Two Minnie Mouses and a three-year-old princess are on the search for their lost friend, Tom Brady.
Ringing any bells? No?
It may not be a setup to a familiar joke, but to Hillary Tosi, it is a familiar household scene. For months now, Tosi's three-year-old daughter, Cici, has had an eclectic group of imaginary friends: Patriots players. It started with an obsession with Julian Edelman after Super Bowl LIII, and since then, it has turned into a near-daily huddle between Edelman and Rob Gronkowski.
"Recently she’s just started picking up toys and pretending they’re Gronkowski and Edelman. Usually it’s her Patriots bear and Red Sox bear that play these parts, but over the last two weeks, it’s been Minnie Mouse," HIllary said. "She’s been cradling Minnie and saying, 'It’s okay, Gronkowski.'"
With her Minnie Mouse stuffed animals taking on the role of wide receiver and tight end, they often go searching for their leader, Tom Brady.
After weeks of watching Cici create this world with her imaginary Patriots friends, Hillary finally caught it on video. In full princess attire, Cici, Edelman and Gronk go looking for the GOAT. She posted it to her Twitter, and to her surprise, Gronk responded.
"Did Minnie @Edelman11 and I find @TomBrady??!" he tweeted.
Unfortunately, Tom Brady is still nowhere to be found.
"They're always looking for Tom," Hillary said with a laugh. "They never find him. I don't know why that is. Maybe if we get her a Brady jersey, the storyline will change, but they're always on a quest for Tom Brady."
Living in Maryland, Hillary said Cici is a proud Patriots fan, often insisting on wearing her Edelman jersey to daycare. She even wore the jersey on school picture day. As far as Cici's concerned, she's just supporting her good friend.
"It’s not always a stuffed animal. She literally thinks that they hang out with her," Hillary said. "She’ll have a dream and she’ll wake up from her dream and she’ll be like, 'Alright, you players.' I’ll hear her when she gets up because we have a monitor in her room, and she gives them a pep talk. It’s really funny."
With the post-nap huddles, Cici is already showing signs of coaching, but her quarterback is still on loose. If a Tom Brady Minnie Mouse turns up, he's needed for Cici's playbook.