When you least expect it

I was out shopping for a few odds and ends tonight, and came upon a large “holiday” display of teddy bears wearing knitted sweaters.

Teddy bear

They come in four or five colors and are big and plushy, a good armful of bear.

I was surprised to find myself picking one up and hugging it briefly, and thinking quite strongly for a moment that I needed to take it home with me and give it a name. I put it back and took its picture instead, and am still kind of marveling at what came over me for a minute there. I mean, being a women of a certain age who doesn’t even have kids–why in the world would I be so drawn to a teddy bear? I was never big on stuffed animals even when I was a kid and haven’t owned a teddy bear for more than 30 years.

But sometimes when we least expect it, childhood wants and needs roar out of the past and shove their way to front and center in our heads with surprising alacrity for the oldsters they are. A stuffed animal represents a friend and companion, a confidant, a playmate, an accomplice, and sometimes a guardian. Who doesn’t wish to have all those things in her life at one time or another, either separately or all in one package? I think what happened tonight is that I really let myself want all those things again, really a lot. But only for a moment.

Lucky for me, I have two cuddly little dogs who do indeed play all those roles and more, which is why I was able to put the bear back on the shelf. They’d probably be jealous and tear it all apart in no time, anyway.

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