It started out innocently enough. When I was two years old, my parents gave me a brown furry teddy bear with a pink ribbon around his neck. Being a creative child, I named him Pinky.
When Dr. Lobo asked me to marry him, I loaned Pinky to him as a sign of my commitment. The two of them shared six months of Army adventures, which must have sparked some interesting conversations in the barracks. After the wedding, Pinky accompanied us on the honeymoon. The three of us became a family.
Dr. Lobo, bless him, accepted my bear obsession with grace and good humor. He started buying bears for me. When my children outgrew their bears, they let me adopt them. My friends gave bears to me.
One summer I acquired a LOT of bears. I don’t even know how many, but it was way more than a mentally healthy adult woman would have obtained. My only defense is that my mother had been placed under hospice care, and I was hurting. Those sweet, cuddly bits of fur filled a need. This, combined with my discovery of eBay during that time, resulted in financial and spacial disaster. How could I resist all those precious bears who needed homes?
For years we’ve needed some kind of bear population control management system in this house. My half-hearted attempts to give them away have been inadequate. Finally, however, I am learning to resist cuteness. I am taking my house back. Those bears have to go!
Recently I have given away many, many bears. About forty went to a nursing home. Twenty went to kids (of all ages) at church. A couple dozen went to Infant Crisis Services. Another dozen will be included in Christmas baskets for retired firefighters and widows of firefighters. Some will go to the principal at Mark Twain Elementary; she plans to give bears to children who are taken from school by child welfare workers. Other bears will go to a facility for autistic children and the rest will go to the local veterans’ hospital.
Of course, I’ll keep far more bears than any normal person would own. Junior, the little guy in the yellow checkered shirt in the photo below, will always be part of our family. He is our “grandbear.” He has a larger wardrobe than many children and an album full of pictures. He travels with us and writes his own blog. But that’s a story for another time.
And Pinky? Well, sixty years have taken their toll on both of us, and we’re showing lots of wear and tear. Nevertheless, I think he’s wonderful. I’ve known him longer than I’ve known my children, Dr. Lobo, and even my siblings. Some relationships are far too precious to give up. He's definitely a keeper.