Monday, May 23, 2016

Just a teddy bear........

At first glance someone would look at Brother Bear and wonder why Vashon and our family love him so dearly. He's a well loved bear is what we call it, but just like "bless her heart" means something different in the south, "well loved" pretty much = a dirty old thing.

What most people don't realize is that Vashon's connection to Brother Bear is bigger than a child and his security item. Of course Brother Bear makes Vashon feel safe and comfortable, but he is now a part of our family.

Brother Bear was given to us from Kelly of Sufficient Grace Ministries for Women (and Families) Inc. he was included in a Dreams of You package that I received in the mail a few days before going into labor. From the website:

Comfort Bear: These beautiful, cream-colored, soft fleece Comfort Bears were created by Kathy Rutter in 2005 for grieving mothers to have something to hold to ease the ache of empty arms. Kathy created each one with a grandmother’s love and prayers. After a valiant battle with cancer, Kathy went home to heaven in October of 2006. Today her legacy continues as the Helping Hands Ministry gathers to sew the bears, sending a grandmother’s love and prayers along with each one.
Brand new Comfort Bear aka Brother Bear

I remember the first night in the hospital, I spread the Noodle and Boo lotion we used on Vayden over the bear and clinched him so tightly, soaking him with my tears.  

For a few weeks the Comfort Bear was mine, each night I would spread lotion over him and press the bear closely to my face, I became a bit protective over him, but little did I know that Vashon would challenge my protection, and force me to let go in many forms.

The cream colored bear was already starting to lose it's glow, I covered him with lotion daily the soft texture was fading fast. Occasionally Vashon would touch him, and I would stand close with a damp towel to wipe off any traces of dirt. One day Vashon came down stairs holding the Comfort Bear by the leg, I'm pretty sure I freaked out; but Vashon lost something too and Vashon was anti stuffed animals. At a recent doctors appointment I was questioned why Vashon didn't love on dolls or bears, baby them, feed them or tote them around. I simply replied "we don't have dolls in our house". So seeing Vashon with a stuffed animal was kind of a big deal. That occasional play with the Comfort Bear turned into a frequent thing, I was jealous, happy and heartbroken, "could my two year old know the severity of what we loss?". Vashon began to tote the bear around with him often, they'd watch TV together, play with toys, and sleep together. One day Van pointed out that Vashon was playing with his brother and then we name the bear, Cuddle Brother which later changed to Brother Bear. At that point I knew he was no longer just mine, and I would have to share him.

Brother Bear 5/21/16
Brother Bear became Vashon's best friend, at first I micromanaged their time together as any mother with a new born and an older child would do, lol. I'll never forget the day Vashon accidently pulled his button eye off. I cried, I balled my eyes out, pulled myself together, sewed his eye back out and used the situation as a 'be kind to our loved ones' teaching moment. But giving Brother Bear to Vashon taught me that I can't control things, just like being given Vayden and losing him. It was never up to me, and it was a great lesson and constant battle I have being a worry-wart. :)

Brother Bear has had three eye surgeries, two neck surgeries, a hundred washes, lots of stains, a minor hip surgery to reattach a weak leg, and he sometimes smells. But he has also been to so many places, seen so many faces, is loved beyond words and considered a part of our family. So no he's just not a teddy bear, he's our tangible memory of our sweet baby Vayden and one of Vashon's best friends.

Happy 7th Birthday to you Vayden and to you also Brother Bear, you will always be a part of me. Mommy misses you so much.

*Above you will see some of the many pics we have with the greatly loved Brother Bear.

1 comment:

  1. Stephanie, this is such a sweet story! It brings tears to my eyes.
    Remembering Vayden always....