Suddenly, Bear comes back
There's the always-present El - er, make that the "mostly present" El. Boots' beloved but tattered friend did leave a few weeks ago "for a visit with his elephant mom and dad." He was back the next day, though.
Then there's Bear, who's been hiding in nooks and crannies since shortly after his disastrous trip to kindergarten a year and a half ago. It was then that Big Guy learned that his precious orange-streaked livelong companion doesn't hold the same appeal for the rest of the world. Within a month, Big Guy had ditched him.
Don't put him away just yet, a friend warned me at the time. He'll be back, she said, adding that her son was off and on with his lovey until he was 12
Big Guy's on again. What's more, he's even on in public. Sort of. Bear is allowed to leave the house, but we're not allowed to broadcast that fact.
"Momma, Bear wants to go to basketball with us," Big Guy said Saturday morning. "He hasn't been anywhere for a long time. He's bored in my room."
Then Big Guy squeaked in the classic tone he's always used to voice Bear. "Yes, Momma! I wanna go! I wanna go!" I have to admit, my heart sang at hearing it, because it wasn't just Bear who was back. So was my little boy - my squishy, squeezy, huggy little 4-year-old boy.
When we got to the gym, though, Bear was suddenly "shy." I guess too much time stuffed under a dresser can trigger social anxiety once you resurface. "Can he sit with you?" Big Guy asked, frantically jamming Bear into my camera bag. No problem, I said.
Bear did come out long enough to try to entertain a friend's 2-year-old sister, who instead got upset because he closely resembles her Bear. Other than that, he remained in hiding until he was in the car after the game, safe from all those prying eyes. "Guess what, Bear! We won!" Big Guy said. "Yay! Yay! Yay!" Bear squeaked.
It's been the pattern since. Bear again has the sweet freedom to accompany us - to karate, the commissary, the PX - but only as far as the car. He romps with El while we're home, and he lets Big Guy gnaw on his arms all day. "He likes it," Big Guy says, which is good since Big Guy's been chewing Bear's arms since he started cutting teeth.
And every night Bear is cuddled in Big Guy's arms and snuggled against his cheek, just like in the good old days.
We could be in for a long run, too. "I think I'll still be chewing on him when I'm 40," Big Guy said this morning as he gave Bear a post-breakfast nibble.
Copyright 2010 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.