I have a confession, said I …
I have bear. Bear is one year older than me. Bear was my first ever present from my parents.
At the time, bear was bigger than me and lived in my cot. When I found my first bed, bear was there. Bear, for never having been named, but bear, lives with me still.
Is bear a he or a she, I do not know. Never asked. Never named. But bear.
Cannot say I loved bear all that much growing up, have no memory of holding onto bear, any photographs, or letters to such, but given the years and all the moves over the world, bear came with.
Times bear was nowhere. I do not remember so I suppose bear lived in a cupboard, or a box. I do remember finding bear and putting said in my children’s cots, before they were given their own bears, a long time ago. Bear was there, like a teapot that travels with you, or a photograph album that you hang onto for looking at once in a while. Bear never seemed to be gone, or present sometimes, but bear was there.
All I can say, is with the years of adolescence, of growing and changing, as life took the pathways we do, I forgot about bear. Bear I think, never forgot about me, because bear showed up, in my new country, in my new home, as if bear had always been there. I wonder how bear came back to me, I really do for I have no recollection of every having the conversation of ‘here is bear … take bear.’ Strange I thought to find bear in a box of all when I found myself here. Wish I knew. But it does not matter. Bear made the journey. And now bear and I have a new relationship. Bear is back in the cot, in the bed, in the reality of my life.
Guess bear has always been part of my journey. When my mother had to leave her home, go to a retirement home after the death of my father, we tried to settle her into that place where she had lost all she knew, given away all she had collected and left with her new reality, and she mentioned one day, she had never had a bear of her own.
For some this may seem insignificant. For me, now living so far from her, an inspiration to find and deliver every bear I could to take the place of me. Every time I flew to her, at the airport, it was with a new bear – Harrods bear, Paddington bear, Eton bear, you name it, I was the bear supplier and bless her, each and everyone became her friend, to be put, ever so carefully on the chair, in order, for her to coo over in her last years. Bear friends. Huggable friends. I was compensating my not being there for her, with bears. We both knew it, but we both accepted it. Now they are all with me.
The thing is, life was very difficult when mom was no longer there to talk to about the bears. And when others left, I sort of , and I don’t know how, found my bear again. Nights of total lostness, at my age, I would climb into bed (I have a bed I would say to myself, at least I have a bed) and bear would be there, stiff, worn, arm chewed by puppies, still both eyes though, and tuck myself in saying, night bear, (at my age) and wake to find bear there.
‘There, there.’ bear seemed to say. Stiff as ever.
‘There, there.’ I replied. You are still there.
I have a bear – almost sixty years old and most likely a vintage celebrity. But this bear is mine, and now with all the others (which I do not have on my bed I may add) but close. Did I know that a bear would be with me longer than others? No. Did I know that bear would find me, like now, and I can enjoy just having it around? Who knew?
Turns out I have been so fortunate. To have a bear for as long as I have lived, a gift from my parents I can still cherish.
Mum, you got your teddy bears ( rather a few) and I always had mine. Didn’t always know it. but thank you.
Do you have a bear like bear? We all need teddy bears, in whatever form, to be there when it gets tough – and when I go to sleep, at my age, I still say ‘night bear.’
And bear says…’there, there.’
Images Vectis auctions, totally teddy bears.