headabovelaundry

Three kids, two dogs, one husband…keeping my head above the laundry pile one load at a time…

Teddy Love

on February 24, 2012

This is something I wrote for my Momoir class.  The topic was about first love, or something love-related.  I tried to step out of the memoir box and write from a different perspective.  I hope you like it.  And if you  love and/or enjoy writing, I highly recommend The Momoir Project (www.themomoirproject.com).  It is an online class that helps you grow and develop as a writer.  Cori Howard, the founder, is a fantastic teacher and guidance counselor.

Thanks for reading!

****

His mom retrieves me from under his bed, blows off a few dust bunnies that cling to my arm, adjusts the sleeves of my Clone Trooper outfit, and sits me in my rightful place – front and center of his Star Wars pillow, with Yoda to my left.

—-

I first came into Ryan’s life when he was a wee child, barely nine months old, and I had recently been lovingly stuffed by his Uncle Jeff and soon-to-be-Aunt Rhonda at the St. Louis Build-A-Bear Workshop.  We rode down the aisle of a beautiful church in a lace and satin covered red Radio Flyer wagon, pulled by Ryan’s second cousin, Samantha.  Ryan was the ring bearer and I was the ring bear.  He was bedecked in adorable black velvet overalls and I was sporting a black tuxedo.  We were a dashing duo!

 

After the wedding, I rode back to Massachusetts in my little cardboard abode, while Ryan’s mom nervously navigated their return trip from Illinois.  This was her and Ryan’s first journey away from home by themselves.  The trip had went fine so far, and the return home went well, too.  Once back in Massachusetts, I took up residence in his bedroom.  I was propped up on the pillow of his not-yet-ready-to-use big boy bed, nestled amongst a collection of stuffed bears, dogs, bunnies, and even a pig.

 

It was here I sat, waiting and waiting, until the fateful night when I became “Teddy”.  Ryan’s mom and dad were watching the movie “AI:  Artificial Intelligence” while Ryan happily played with his Thomas the Tank Engine trains on the floor, seemingly oblivious to the movie playing on the TV.  In the movie, the human child-like robot, David, is befriended by a robotic teddy bear named “Teddy”.  The movie was very sad and Ryan’s mom still had tears in her eyes when she carried a sleepy boy upstairs for a diaper change and wardrobe change from play clothes to pajamas.  As his chubby feet were being stuffed into the sleeper pajamas, he looked around and I caught his eye.  “Teddy!” he said, and he reached over to grab me.

 

From that moment on, we were the best of friends.  I slept with him every night.  I accompanied him on trips to Home Depot and Stop & Shop.  I rode in the monster cart at Target, sitting right across from him, strapped into the toddler seat of the shopping cart.  His mom would shop for all the necessities while he would sit, usually quietly, slurping down the blueberry freeze Icee from the Target snack bar.  While I never got to taste it, my fur was frequently covered in drips and spills from his cup.  We went to the Build-A-Bear store and bought me some casual outfits (a bear can’t live in a tuxedo forever).  I went with him on visits to his grandmas’ houses in Illinois.  Sometimes we traveled by plane, sometimes by car.  But always, always, I was with him.

 

I survived the arrival of two new baby brothers and two puppies.  I was kept safe from being chewed on by all four of them.  Puppies can be dangerous…I have been witness to Frosty and Maggie chewing the noses off several of my stuffed comrades.  Babies can be dangerous too….they drooled on me, they dropped me, they hid me.  But I survived.

 

One year on Christmas Eve, Santa snuck into Ryan’s room and ever-so-gently removed me from Ryan’s arms.  Santa knew he had to be very, very careful.  Ryan had tried to hard to stay awake to listen for the sleigh bells on Santa’s sleigh or the tip toeing footsteps of his mom putting the gifts under the tree.  He so wanted to believe that Santa was real, but he kept hearing stories from his little friends at school, telling him he was wrong, that Santa wasn’t real, that Santa was really his mom.  Ryan wasn’t able to stay awake, but Santa was worried that he wasn’t sleeping very soundly.  So he carefully extracted me from the sleeping child’s hug, and brought me downstairs to the Christmas tree.  He brought Ryan’s brothers’ bears down, too.  He dressed each of us in Star Wars outfits:  I was a Clone Tooper, Alex’s teddy was Darth Vader, and Owen’s was Luke Skywalker.  Boy were those boys surpised when they came downstairs Christmas morning and found us under the tree!

 

As Ryan gets older, I find I am not needed as much as I used to be.  I am no longer invited to sleepovers at friend’s houses (except his best friend, Jack’s….Jack sleeps with his Froggy and thinks it is perfectly ok to have a stuffed animal to sleep with).  I still go with him to Grandmas’, but sometimes I ride in the suitcase instead of on the seat next to him.  I stay in his room almost all day now, and I never go to Home Depot.  I don’t get blueberry freeze Icees dripped on me anymore.  Ryan now prefers McDonald’s Frappacinos, and since he is older, he hardly ever drips or spills (unless his pesky little brothers bump his arm and make him spill).

 

He doesn’t need me all the time, but he still needs me sometimes.  His mom says she can tell what kind of day he has had by where I am.  If I am sleeping with Ryan, held in a “deathgrip”, he has probably had a bad day.  If I am tossed at the foot of the bed or, even worse, dropped on the floor to be used as a pillow by Maggie the dog, he has probably had a pretty good day.  If I come down to breakfast with him, he has probably had a bad dream or a restless night of sleeping.  When his family moved from Boston to Toronto last year, Ryan had a really bad time, and I was back to being his constant companion.  I went with him everywhere, even snuck in his backpack at school.  While it was a dream come true for me, it made me very sad that I could only be there for him, but couldn’t do much to make him feel better.

Tonight I can hear his friends’ laughter float up from the basement.  He’s having a sleepover for his eleventh birthday, and he’s definitely too cool and grown-up to sleep with a teddy bear.  His mom hears the laughter too, and as she readjusts my Clone Trooper outfit, she whispers to me.  I feel a little bit better.  “Love is being there when they need you….and being there when they think they don’t need you….”

 

Later in the night, as the grandfather clock strikes 11, I hear tip toeing footsteps in the hall.  This time, it’s Ryan, not Santa.  He comes in the room, plucks me off the bed, and carries me, football style, down the hall.  He stops at the door of his mom’s bedroom and whispers “Night mom.  Love you.” and heads downstairs to hang out with his friends.  Yes, his mom was right:  love is really being there for someone whether they need you or not.  Because, really, they always need you.  They just don’t always know it.

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