I Love Him! Yes, my husband and Jesus and Ted D. Bear which is his formal name. In his younger days he went by just Ted until the insane “Ted” movie series came out. This blasphemed and confused him, forcing him to take his formal, full name to maintain his innocent identity. Recently, I found this letter on the chair in our bedroom where he resides, keeping watch over his flocks by night — a small selection of ladybugs who climb through the screens when it first turns cold and manage to stay alive through most of the winter. They keep him entertained, but with the departure of our children he has too much free time on his hands which is probably why he penned this letter.
We’ve been together since you were seven and your grandfather picked me out of Hayward, Wisconsin’s only toy store, on Christmas Eve. I remember the exaltation of being chosen and the relief that he didn’t pick the stuffed muskie next to me. I can still picture you flouncing in on Christmas morning wearing your white robe with the long, red ribbons and your matching fuzzy slippers. You grabbed me first and hugged me before opening any of your other presents. That’s when I first loved you too. We went to slumber parties together, at Meg’s house you hid me inside your sleeping bag so the other girls wouldn’t see. I kept your feet warm. My worst moment came when your roommates hung me off the balcony of your fifth floor dorm room at that boiling hot college in Texas. They forgot — I’m a stuffed bear so I can’t die. You forgave them and we’re all still friends. I forgave the big man when you two got married and he banished me to the linen closet, calling me a “dust ball.” I can’t help it if he has allergies! He didn’t know you came into the closet and hugged me during all those years he traveled on business and your kids grew up. I loved those tea parties with Beauregard and all the other bears that came to live with us: Snuffle bear, Grey bear, Dan bear. Now in Wisconsin, I get to sleep with you and that mangy dog whose breath is unbearable. Fortunately, she sleeps at the foot of the bed and I’m still right next to you, only when the big man is gone and I accept that, no hard feelings between us. I can’t help it if he has allergies! The last time we slept together my pillow was covered in crumbly, dried out orange foam. That’s my stuffing and in case you haven’t noticed I have several holes around the seam of my neck. For Christmas I’m asking for you or your daughter to sew me up. If you don’t, I won’t last. I might turn to dust and the big man’s nickname for me will come true! Please, all I want for Christmas is my seams sewed up.
Forever your loving cinnamon bear, Ted D. Bear
He’s precocious and adorable and one of us will sew him up which brings me to the point of all this. There are far too may stuffed animals in the world that end up in landfills and far too few who take their place among the living, like The Velveteen Rabbit. These are the ones who are loved so much, that they become “real.” A lifetime of childhood memories attach to them and to a degree they are more real than the thousands of disorganized, forgotten photos held by our phones and computers. They are tangible, we held them and cried into their fur and if we take care of them, they last. What is hanging around your house or apartment that is precious enough to you that you’ve glued it together when it broke or sewed it up when it ripped? How can we live less disposable lives and truly “cherish” something or even better, someone this advent season? For He cherishes us enough to sew us up and fix us with every repeated fall and failing.
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases.”
Spend some glue this December and mend a relationship that’s broken or at least a favorite bear.
Part two in a four part advent series on the tangible and intangible aspects of life that last.