My mother always had a fondness for Teddy bears. As a child, I remember having a few dolls I played with, some hot wheels cars (my red VW bug was a favorite), a garage with a ramp (I spent hours playing with that) and a few other toys. When it came to comfort though, teddy bears were my go to. There was something about them that made me feel safe, happy, and they were the best to cuddle with at night. I think she got me some of my favorite bears. When I grew up, she got herself a Harrod’s Christmas bear. Then she got a couple more over the years. After she died, I made the decision that the bears would come home with me.
The bears were stored in my daughter’s closet. Recently, she has taken a bit of an interest in them, especially because they were her Nana’s. My mom died 4 years before my daughter was born. She never got to meet my mother, and has only heard stories about her over the years. I have always tried to share stories of my mother with the kids, as it’s the only way to keep her memory with them. I usually try to select funny stories, which they love hearing.
My daughter’s school gives reward stickers for good behavior. Once the kids earn a certain amount of stickers, they get a reward, and my daughter finally met the required amount. I asked what her reward would be, and she said that she was allowed to take a stuffed animal or doll to school. I fully expected her to take her lifelike baby doll that she adores. Frankly, I find the doll a little creepy, but she LOVES that doll. It looks so much like a real baby, I unfortunately had to tell her she can’t leave the doll in the car for fear someone will think it’s real and smash my windows out. I was rather shocked when I saw her clearly gearing up to ask me something she was nervous about.
“Mama, can I take one of Nana’s bears? Nobody can touch it but me, and I’d love to be able to take one. Would she mind?”
I fought really hard not to have my eyes tear up. I told her of course she could take one to school, as long as she took care of it.
She spent several days mulling over which one to take, before settling on the one from 2000. It was a special bear, with moveable limbs. I said we should put it in a plastic bag so she could carry it easily. She looked concerned. “Nana might not like that….is it a boy bear or a girl bear? What was the bear’s name? Would she mind if I changed the name or gave it a name?”
I thought for a moment and responded “your Nana loved this bear. She would be so HONORED that you would choose her bear as your reward. She would be so proud that you are concerned about how to best look after it, and she would be so THRILLED that you would love this bear for her. She would be so incredibly, undeniably proud to be your Nana, and she would love you and your brother more than anything”.
And with that, she and the bear hopped out of the car and headed to school, a big smile across her face.