I sat down to write a post about Nora Ruth Simpson, when in marched Cali with BB in tow. She didn’t really say anything – she just stood there with BB clutched to her chest. This caught me off guard and I took in the sight of her adorableness (of course, I had to pull out my phone to take a picture of that sweet face). I found myself wondering if she had any idea her tiny hands were holding 24 years worth of my history. I decided that she didn’t, but I couldn’t help myself from reminiscing a little.
BB was one of my Christmas gifts from my mommy when I was six years old. I’ll never forget the first time I laid eyes on him. BB was dressed as a Christmas pilot in a red bomber jacket with fur around the collar and a red hat. His jacket was embroidered with the Belk’s Bear logo… and that’s how I came up with his name. It’s funny, I couldn’t tell you anything else I got for Christmas that year… though, I’m sure a lot of it was expensive and I was undoubtedly more interested in all of it than I was in BB. Yet, BB had a staying power and has had such an overwhelming presence in my life that I couldn’t tell you a single gift I received that year outside of him.
BB ran the gauntlet of my youth by my side – to say he is cherished would be such an understatement it could be considered an insult. BB is a well traveled bear – he accompanied me across the state as I was shuffled between my divorced parents over the years, went to Washington DC when I was 10, and has been to Florida on multiple occasions. He’s been my therapist: taking more than one beating as my angry outbursts found a release on my stuffed animals, his matted fur has caught the tears resulting from my broken hearts, and his ears have heard more than one of my various tales of woe. He heard my excitement both times I learned I was to be a new sister and my misery each time a beloved family member was lost. He witnessed the whisperings of little girls during slumber parties and heard the voices of boys who never should’ve been in my room. When I went through my experimentation phase… he was vomited on after I drank too much and I’m sure he’s caught more than one contact buzz. Sadly, BB’s undying devotion was repaid by my stuffing him into a closet and leaving him behind as I went on to start a life of my own.
BB popped back into my life years later when my mommy brought him home to me in Fayetteville. I wish I could say his retirement has been an easy one, but it hasn’t. He was there for me when my daddy died and through the roller coaster of my emotional breakdown that followed. One would think he deserves a break after that alone, but he probably works harder now than ever before – as he’s been adopted by my girls. Plus, I still seek out his council and comfort whenever the mood strikes me. I try not to feel too bad that BB’s senior years have been disturbed, because what he misses out on in relaxation is undoubtedly made up for in love.
It is surely undeniable that BB is a special member of my family – he is treated with a great amount of respect and the kids revere him in the way they would an ancient historic artifact (in their mind, he probably is just that). I find that part of me hopes BB will go on to be as cherished by my grandchildren as he has been by myself and my children. The other part still hopes that a fairy will appear in the way of the velveteen rabbit and allow him to become a real bear.