Isabelle adores stuffed animals. She tucks a shabby-tan bear nearly everywhere she goes. Each morning, when my husband leaves for work, she sends him on his way with a stuffed animal and pretend food for the two of them to share while he’s at work. She wants a stuffed animal to accompany him to work to assist to “help kids feel better.” (Truth be told he keeps the stuffed animal in the back seat of the car, but she thinks they go inside with him.) This little tradition began in early July and has shown no signs of stopping.
I haven’t been away from Isabelle for more than a few hours since late June when I attended the TCRWP Summer Writing Institute. When she heard I was going to the Highlights Foundation to work on my writing for a few days she insisted that I take a stuffed animal with me. I tried to decline her lovely offer (What if someone saw me bring a teddy bear? Would they think I was sleeping with it!??!), but she was persistent.
“Who do you want me to take?” I asked.
Her eyes scanned the room and settled on one bear in particular. “Take Big Teddy.”
“You know, Big Teddy used to be my teddy bear*. What’s Big Teddy going to do?”
“Help you write,” she said slowly.
“Oh, okay. I’m sure I could use some help with writing since I’m revising a story called ‘Missing Teddy.'”
“Share pens with Big Teddy,” Isabelle said.
“I should share pens with him?” I asked.
Isabelle nodded. I like that she thinks writers use pens!
“Okay, I’ll share pens with him.”
Before I left (which was carried out of two long hours of Isabelle sobbing on-and-off), she kissed both of us good-bye several times.
On Sunday night, since I knew she was still missing us, I wrote her a letter and sent her some pictures of Big Teddy working here at Highlights. I hope she enjoyed the note and the photos since I felt kinda silly taking all of those photos. (Initially I planned on keeping Big Teddy in the car, but couldn’t resist the chance to take some writing pics of him.) Oh, the things we do for our children, right?
So, that was last night. This afternoon I called my in-laws, who are watching Isabelle while I’m away. I asked my mother-in-law what Isabelle thought of the photos and the message. I figured she’d be excited. BUT… my mother-in-law was straight with me, which I appreciated. Isabelle was not impressed. (I could imagine her making McKayla Maroney’s signature facial expression from the 2012 Olympics.) Oh well! At least I tried!
*= Back in the day, Big Teddy was named Koach, which means strength in Hebrew. That was too hard for Isabelle to say so she nicknamed him Big Teddy.