Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Bear With Me

Dearest Readers,

When I was a child I had a Steiff Teddy Bear. I didn't know it was a Steiff, which is a high-quality, German brand of plush toys, until much later in life when it would have meant something to me to own so swish a toy. As a girl, however, it was simply a bear that I loved.

I also had a tiny little bear named Baby Growl-y. I don't even know how to spell it. Did I come up with the name? My mother would know.

When I got a little older, not yet old enough to think teddy bears were un-cool, still on that threshold between childhood and youth, I acquired Charles, a giant, white teddy bear.

Charles was a Christmas present. I remember sneaking downstairs in the early morning before anyone else was awake to have a sneak-peek at the presents. I saw the bear, unwrapped, sitting up, alert and ready for love. I knew he couldn't possibly be for me. I was too old. Surely he was for one of my younger sisters. Oh, heartbreak!

Later, when the whole family was gathered around the tree to open presents and my father picked up that bear and said my name, I leapt for joy and hugged his softness to my little budding body. He was mine! And Charles seemed an appropriate name for he was a very proper bear.

For some reason my mother continued to buy me bears right up until a few short years ago when I had to tell her to stop. She knows I have a love of bears, all bears, one might even say the Bear is my Totem Animal, but I've outgrown the stuffed bear, no matter how adorable.

Or have I?

Yesterday, because of some healing work I've been doing, I felt a deep connection to the little girl that I was all those years ago. That small child who was innocent and free, loving and hopeful. The girl I was before the harshness of the world made itself known to me. The girl who didn't yet know shame.

That little girl could receive the tender hugs of a teddy bear. She needed them.

So, for her, I bought a gift. A giant, pink, plush teddy pig. Or would it be a piggy bear? Either way, it's darn cute. And very huggable. Just what a little girl needs at Christmas time.

Inspiring Message of the Day: We need hugs. We need tenderness. Sometimes we can receive these things from people but other times we need the soft and all-embracing love of a child's toy to give us that comfort.

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