Saturday, June 08, 2013

A Boy and His Bear

Last Monday our family experienced one of those tragedies that every mother prays will never happen: the loss of a lovey. Jon's dearly-loved teddy, Brown Bear, went missing, and we have not been able to find him.

Brown Bear joined our family about ten years ago when he was given to Keren after one of her hospital visits. He was a soft, cuddly creature with a royal blue shirt from Kohl's Kids to Children's Hospital of Detroit. Over the years he sat on shelves, adorned beds, and got stuffed away in bins. Then last year, somehow, magically, like the Velveteen Rabbit, he became Jon's favorite and was dubbed "Brown Bear."

Brown Bear and Jon have had many adventures, and this is not the first time Brown Bear has performed a disappearing act. Typically, though, we've known exactly where he was and he was brought home post-haste. He's spent a day at Jon's buddy Michael's house. He's done two overnights at Grammy and Poppa's (partying with the stuffed friends there, I told Jon). His latest shenanigans involved staying at Jon's cousins' up north...though thankfully Grandma and Grandpa were returning a day later than us and could bring him home. So yes, Brown Bear is a little sneaky. But this time he pulled a trick that none of us can solve.

When we realized Monday night that Brown Bear had gone missing, I wasn't too concerned. I thought through our events of the afternoon (which, unfortunately, involved at least two outings) and tried to remember when I'd last seen our plush friend. Maybe he'd been left at Clare's school playground when we picked her up? Maybe he'd snuck into Mrs. Donna's house when we went for Clare's piano lesson? My mind was a blank. Jon, thankfully, went to bed without a problem and barely asked after his friend.

Tuesday brought no answers and I tried not to worry...and not to mention the missing bear to Jon who whiled his day away without concern. Wednesday went well, too, but no Brown Bear. It wasn't until Wednesday night that I think Jon realized something was wrong, and as I tucked him in, he started to cry for his bear. It was devastating. It didn't help that I was pretty sad about it, too. I mean, this was Brown Bear we were talking about! He'd been in the family for a decade and was one of those little things that linked Keren and Jon. He was Jon's close companion who cuddled so adorably under Jon's arm and flew so fantastically when thrown in the air. I wanted to burst into tears along with my boy, but knew I had to be strong and help him find something positive in the midst of sadness.

"I think, Jon," I said, "that Brown Bear has gone on another adventure, and this time it's a really big
one. Maybe--" I thought of Jon's favorite naptime audio stories of Winnie-the-Pooh, "Maybe Brown Bear thought that he would be like Winnie-the-Pooh and go on an expotition to the North Pole. Or maybe he's on an expotition to somewhere else exciting since Pooh has already found that."

More tears, but Clare and Ev got in on it adding their ideas as to Brown Bear's adventures. Jon eventually eased off into dreamland and I drew a ragged breath of relief. It was helpful, though, to imagine Brown Bear off on adventures, and I thought maybe I'd start writing some little letters from Brown Bear to Jon. Ideas started percolating.

I was a bit concerned the next day because every time Jon brought up Brown Bear his sisters supplied wild possibilities. Ev called out, "Jon! I got a letter from Brown Bear and he's gone away forever!" Great. Real helpful, Dear. And hey, that letter idea was mine! Clare posed the thought that perhaps he'd been stolen. Another joyful consideration. But little by little, Jon was drawn into the play and soon had Brown Bear shooting off in a space ship. Brown Bear has since joined up with Winnie-the-Pooh and is exploring the 100 Acre Wood, along with other places. The sweetest thing was what I discovered by Jon's head when I went to wake him from his nap that day. During rest time, Evie had created a little book that Brown Bear had "written" to Jon to tell him where he was and how he was doing and how he remembered his time with Jon.

So it would seem that Brown Bear has left our home to adventure out into the wide, wide world. I am thankful for imaginations and love surrounding my little ones here at home so that they can embrace his adventures that salves sore hearts. I will admit, mine still has a bit of an ache. But then I picture Brown Bear headed off to Pooh's house for some honey and sweetened condensed milk, and I can't help but smile.

Ev's Letter from Brown Bear

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