It is all in the stories and the sharing of them that we re-member …
Meet Mr. Teddy Bear
1984 Our first Christmas. The weeks leading up to Christmas were difficult because this would be Bill’s first Christmas without his Dad. He struggled with grieving, all the while happy that he would be sharing some of the holidays with me. His family made plans to meet at his grand-parents in another town and I would be going to see my family, the first in a very long time. I was not too eager on going to my folks because although we were okay with each other, there was a strain between my mother and me. Bill insisted that it was a great opportunity to go a few days before and have some time to talk this through with my Mom. He pointed out that it would not be when she had passed that we would be able to chat. He also pointed out that I was beginning a new life and it would be nice if I could come to an understanding with my Mom about what really went on while growing up – you know the kind of stuff only a mother and daughter can accumulate in a closet!
This was by far the best gift Bill made possible for me. After much insistence from him, I agreed. He dropped me off at the bus station, kissed me and promised that we would have a great time when we both got back. I spent quite a few days before Christmas with my Mom and Dad and boy did we talk! We talked, we accused, and we cried; we listened, we laughed and our hearts healed! The look on my father’s face, as his wife and his daughter faced off at breakfast and kept it going all day, all the while getting the home ready for everyone to arrive, was priceless. I still see his grin! I gained such a beautiful perspective on my mother’s love for me during these days. The family arrived, I got teased about too much makeup and Mom was quick to squash the teasing – thanks Mom!
It was finally time to head back to Bill’s place to really begin the festivities *grin*. My sister and brother-in-law were headed that way and I don’t think I heard a single word they said during that one-hour drive. I had visions of Bill dancing in my head!
Much of the next few days were a blur ... but the one thing that is solid in my memory is this big old fat Teddy Bear. I came first to Bill's home and was assailed with so many unwrapped gifts on the couch! He had taken the time to set this scene up! On this Teddy Bear's ear was a card that said ... "careful, I can be exchanged for a whiter version of me!" I found that card the other day. I fell in love instantly with this big old furry brown Teddy Bear. In my mind, I saw this grown man, looking up on the shelves and picking out the "perfect Teddy" for me. It is large, as you can see, large enough for me to hold and cuddle up to! White? Bah humbug! He was perfect!
Coming from my background, I was not sure I was "supposed" to see this! All gifts in my childhood came "wrapped". But here sat this big old bear ... unwrapped and waiting for me to pick him up! I remember sitting by the couch looking up at this silly grin and feeling the magic of Christmas seeping in! Oh my goodness Bill! You brought "magic" to everything, you gave the magic of Christmas back to me!
So I laid there last night, holding on to this furry thing ... thinking about the magic brought to my life! I have suited up the thing with the last piece of clothes that made my heart melt and wondered .... how can I create this "magic" for another?
I miss you more today ... and love you less than tomorrow!