Learning that the world doesn’t love Bear
He'd been with Big Guy for years at preschool until El's beastily behavior caused the teachers to evict both guys' loveys. He'd sacrificed his hands so baby Big Guy would quit pulling his own hair. He'd snuggled Big Guy through three surgeries and comforted him as he adapted to the big-kid school.
But Bear had never been allowed to enter the magic kingdom. He'd ride to school in the stroller most mornings but had to remain there when the bell summoned Big Guy away from him.
Then Big Guy's teacher announced a Teddy Bear Picnic. The class would have Teddy Grahams and Gummi Bears for snack that day, and the stuffed animals were invited.
"Bear's going to be so happy he gets to go," Big Guy grinned.
Ay, but like the infomercial products that look so inviting only to disappoint once you buy them, the picnic wasn't all Bear - or Big Guy - had dreamed of. In fact, it was downright disappointing.
That development wasn't surprising to an adult - a well-worn bear without legs and an orange streak across his head was bound to look funny to the more-sophisticated 5-year-olds. To Big Guy, though, it was a shock.
Big Guy glossed over it first.
"Did Bear like the picnic today? Did he get to meet a lot of other bears?"
"They weren't all bears. Some were dinosaurs."
"Ah. Did Bear have fun?"
"Yeah, he did. Can I get a bag juice?"
That was his sign that the conversation was over. Until bedtime, at least.
"Mommy, some of my friends laughed at Bear today," he said, snuggling his pillow and looking at Bear with a shade more suspicion than he had the night before.
"They thought he looked funny. He doesn't have any legs, you know. And he's dirty," he added, pointing to the orange swath that had resulted from a fabric-paint accident three years ago. "And he just wasn't like the other bears."
"I can see that. The other bears were probably shiny and new, but Bear's been with you your whole life. They probably didn't understand that, did they?"
"S did. He had his bear when he was a baby, too."
He snuggled Bear even closer and smiled sleepily. "I don't care. I still love Bear."
One of these days, he won't. Bear will be relegated to a forgotten corner or toy box or closet shelf.
But that time hasn't come. Not yet.
Copyright 2009 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.