We were washing teddy bears-my eldest daughter and I. Old childhood toys. She was recently seperated from her husband of seven years, and we are washing teddy bears.

Last week I helped her get settled in her new apartment. For the first time in her life, she is living alone and she is struggling to make a new life-just her and her bears.

She has just told me a story about two eighty-year-old women she met at the Laundromat yesterday. One of them was washing her teddy bears. The old woman gingerly explained to her the proper way to wash teddy bears.

"You put them into a pillowcase and pin the end of the case shut with a safety pin. Then you wash and dry them and they come out nice and clean and fluffy."

The old woman went on to explain that ever since her husband passed away, whenever she gets lonely or anxious, she holds her teddy bear pressed close to her for a long while and then she feels better. She says it always works.

They go on talking, and my daughter explained that she has always wanted to wash her bears but was afraid that they would be ruined in the process. She was delighted by the old woman and her tale and they continued to talk. My daughter explained that she was recently seperated and that she was fixing up her new apartment and thanked the woman for the advice.

The old woman said that if she were her daughter, she would scoop her up and take her home with her. That she would not be living alone. I wanted to tell my daughter that the old woman's sentiments were also mine. I knew she had to find her own way. Although I wanted to rescue her, in my heart I knew that was not what was best for her.

Doing what is best for your child can be so difficult sometimes. Watching my daughter struggle-emotionally, financially and otherwise-is tugging at my heart-strings. I really do want to scoop her up and take her home and tuck her and her teddy bears into bed.

She was and is a beautiful child. Although she is a twenty-eight-year-old woman now, it is difficult for me sometimes to think of her as one.

We finished washing bears, and she is on her way home now. Her bears are clean, all present and accounted for. And I know that she will press them close to her face for a long time on many days and nights to come-and that they will help her feel better. They will listen as only teddy bears can. They will soak up her tears and hug her back when she needs it. And they will smile back at her when her own smile finally returns.

Watch over my little girl, Teddy Bears. Love her extra hard. The big wide world can be a pretty scary place. Hold her hand, tuck her in at night and remind her how very much her dad and I and her sisters love her. Help her find that peaceful, teddy-bear place inside each one of us-that warm and fuzzy place that brings us to a "knowing" that everything will be alright, that tomorrow is another day, that all the answers we need are inside us. Remind her that time heals, that out of pain comes tremendous personal growth. And that there are no boogymen under the bed.

Sweet dreams, my precious daughter. May the glory of your morning sun and the light of your magnificent moon dry all your tears and mend your heart and spirit. And may each new tomorrow bring you, my beloved child, deep and lasting joy, and teddy-bear peace.

Story by Jean Bole


my bears

Created by kudleebear ~ March 18, 2002

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