When I was two my parents took me to a toy store; we were on a day trip. I can somehow still remember the store and the bridge we crossed to get to it. (I’m from Cape Cod, Massachusetts so it was either the Bourne or Sagamore Bridge. ) To this day I feel the excitement of a little kid when thinking about my dad taking the teddy bear off the shelf for me. I loved that teddy bear, Beary, more than anything. I became so attached to it that it became impossible for me to sleep without Beary in my arms every night.
When my dad took Beary off the shelf in the toy store he was brand new. His fur was a shiny, soft, honey color. The Teddy Bear’s eyes were brown (plastic) with black pupils. There was a red ribbon tied around his neck in a bow. I had my mom cut it off though. When I squeezed him, he was like a fluffy pillow. His paws were heavy and filled with tiny little bead-like things. The claws were marked by four stitches on each foot. The bear’s nose was hard plastic, which was covered in soft velvet.
As a little girl I loved traveling and discovering new places to explore; especially day trips. During the day I was independent and nothing could stop me. I would go home and sleep in my own bed but being in the dark was the scariest situation for me to be in as a child. When I was going to bed and it was dark that was a different story. Beary was always there to give me confidence. At some point I dreamt that Beary fought off monsters while I was sleeping. This made it very easy to go to bed. If I was sleeping at a relative’s house or a hotel, though, it was terrifying.
There were new scary noises that only seemed audible when the lights were off. I would squeeze Beary tightly and hide under my covers. After a little while the fear would disappear because I knew that Beary was going to keep me safe. All of this surprised my parents sometimes because I was always so fearless during the day. At, night though, I could not sleep without Beary and was too scared to open my eyes unless the door was open a crack. Beary not only fought off the monsters in the dark, but did battle with my tears as well.
I was more self reliant and socially mature than my peers. I had a hard time relating to a lot of the little girls that wanted to play pretend at recess in fifth grade. I would want to play tag or go on the swings. (One would think that this would have stopped me from being afraid of the dark and the “monsters” that come with it. ) Because of this there were only a few boys and girls that I considered to be really good friends. Having a few friends never really bothered me until it came time to have a birthday party.
I always wanted to have an extravagant party with tons of friends. I planned everything but when it came time to write the invitations my mom could only come up with 5, 6, or 7 kids. When you think about it that seems like a lot of energy in one room but to me it was lame. This would trigger the tears. My mom would go grab Beary off my bed and the three of us would go for a walk on the beach, or if it was too cold for that we would go to the Hot Chocolate Sparrow to get a cookie and, of course, hot chocolate.
Once, at eight years old, I left Beary at my grandparents house and did not realize until my mom was tucking me into my blankets. I had never left him anywhere before. I was so distraught that my mom had to drive all the way from Harwich to Yarmouth and back again to go get him. I had never slept without him before and did not plan on going to bed without him that night. As I entered my moody “independent” middle school years I did not pay much attention to my aging Teddy Bear. I still slept with him but it was more of a habit than anything else.
His fur was now covered in little bits of lint from being washed so many times. I ignored him throughout all of middle school because I was a teenager and was too cool for that. I could sleep over other peoples’ houses and leave Beary at home. Even when we would go on vacation. I realized that there were no monsters and it was only the wind that was blowing outside. Usually parents take objects like that and store them away and their children eventually forget about them. My mother never took Beary away because she knew that one day I would need him again.
That time came when my “boyfriend” broke up with me going into high school. As you can imagine it was full of teenage drama and tears. This is when my mom grabbed my Teddy Bear off of my bed and reminded me of how the three of us would go for walks and get hot chocolate when I got upset as a little kid. She did this to give me a reality check, I think. It worked because I stopped crying and slept with him that night like I once did. I was staying up too late in high school to think about finding Beary in my sheets when flopping into bed.
Homework, horseback riding, and spending time with friends consumed me as those four years flew by. Every once in awhile I would wake up in the morning and he would be right next to me. I would just give him a smile and go on with my day. My mother’s friend has a little girl that gently plays with him when she comes over but other than that he would stay put at the head of my bed. The summer after I graduated from high school was full of adventures. Trips to Nantucket, going to concerts, and beaching the boat on Monomoy Island occupied my time for two months.
Between everything I slowly started packing things away into boxes to bring to college. Most of the items that I brought were brand new. The night before I left for school my dad asked me if I was going to bring Beary with me and I truly did not know the answer. I thought about it all night. My mom came into my room and reminded me how much that Teddy Bear and I had gone through together. How could I leave him at home? He was a part of me. Now, at college, Beary is on the top shelf in my closet. If I ever get lonely, scared, or sad he will always be there for me.