Grateful for Stuffed Animals and Imagination

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Twelve and a half years ago, a very dear friend of mine passed away. He was a Colorado State Trooper and was often called “a teddy bear of a man.” As a memorial to him, a fundraiser was held with teddy bears as the donation for a program the State Patrol had at the time in which they gave bears to children who had been involved in car accidents.

I remember thinking how much I loved this program because 1) I am a teddy bear fan myself and 2) next to mama and daddy, there is nothing more comforting to a child than the face of a bear or other stuffed animal or doll, even if they aren’t in a traumatic situation.

When I was growing up, I had Mr. Bear. To this day, still my most favorite and prized possession (even more than my KitchenAid mixer). If Mr. Bear could talk, oh the stories he would tell; he’s been dropped in the lake at Washington Park in Denver, left in a hotel in Colorado Springs, left in a Burger King booth, left in a shopping cart at Safeway. But he was the one I would hold tight during thunderstorms and he was my listening ear through childhood and beyond. He now resides in Ella’s room so she can love him as much as I do.

One of my other favorite toys was my American Girl doll, Molly. I remember believing her to be a mini-me with her brown hair and glasses. I brushed and braided her hair so much that I pretty much ruined the softness of it. I had a bed for her with a homemade afghan made by my aunt (I had one to match) and clothes made by my mom and grandma. She had books that came with her, but I always loved to come up with my own stories for her.

Toys and stuffed animals represent so much to our children. And we, as parents, get to take part in creating their life stories and all the memories that will be attached for years to come.

Ella’s most favorite companion (beside our dogs) is Lambie (or “Mammie”, because she hasn’t mastered the “L” sound, yet). It is as if her thumb and Lambie are connected. Lambie doesn’t even have to be in her arms, she can just see him coming and the thumb goes in and the eyes get heavy.

Sure, Stephen and I have created Lambie’s out of our own imagination. But that is becoming one of my favorite parts of parenting – living out my own imagination and creativity to help build that of my daughter.

We have many years ahead of us reliving our own excitement baking cookies and waiting for Santa, finding eggs from the Easter Bunny and remembering to put teeth under pillows for the Tooth Fairy.

If nothing else, creating names and stories helps Stephen and I to break away from the stressfulness of being the responsible adults. In a way, it helps us to maintain our sanity by having a little imaginary fun.

Ella will grow out of the time of make believe one day, but my hope is that she will create long-lasting memories, as I did with Mr. Bear and with Molly, and always remember the comfort she had in her fluffy companions.

But for now, I will continue to foster her imagination and cherish the moments of her babbling her own stories and then holding tight to her Lambie or Marvin, with her thumb in her mouth, while she drifts off to sleep.

5 thoughts on “Grateful for Stuffed Animals and Imagination

  1. Nolan loves his bear, and always has it close to him (unless he’s at school). Archer loves his blanket, and is always attached to that too.

    I used to have a bear that I adored. What a great program!

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  2. Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is a very well written article. Ill make sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful info. Thanks for the post. I will certainly comeback.

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  3. I love it! My son cherishes, adores, worships George – his soft, plushy giraffe. My son is 4 and has had George since birth. We’ve been through a few Georges…and he loves each one with same ferocity. Imagination and creativity is one of the best parts (and surprises) of parenting! It really does help you connect to your inner child – and watching them develop that imagination and in turn create their own stories as they grow is nothing short of amazing.

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