For my third birthday I received the most coveted gift I would ever receive in my lifetime. Love-a-Lot Bear. Perhaps you recognize her from the Care Bears. She was one of the original ten bears. Love-a-Lot was a lot like cupid per say, always trying to spread love. She used the word love a lot. Hence her name.
Well, my Love-a-Lot bear became my instant best friend. She literally went EVERYWHERE with me. She slept in my bed at night, she watched cartoons with me during the day, she ate dinner with me at the table, she went shopping with me, she came to all my doctor visits, she spent the night with me wherever I went. Because she was with me 24/7, she encountered germs and dirt and grime just like I did and had to be washed, a lot. My mother would throw her in the washing machine, and then hang her by her ears on the clothesline outside. You see, it was common back in the 80’s in the north to hang your clothes out to dry. We didn’t even own a dryer.
I used to get SO MAD at my mom for hanging her out to dry like some common material item. Love-A-Lot was my best friend. She had feelings. And she did NOT LIKE to hang outside on the clothesline by her ears. I would run out and try to jump and reach her, never succeeding in actually pulling her down. I would tell my mom that she was hurting hanging out there by her ears. I also had an irrational fear that a damn bird was going to come and swoop her away like my sister’s pacifier. Perhaps that is where my hatred for those disgusting creepy little furry animals come from? That is a story for another day.
You would think my love for Love-A-Lot would eventually fade over the years as I got older, but no. Not at all. Love-A-Lot continued to be my buddy and come to all sleepovers with me. Anytime we traveled, Love-A-Lot found her way in my suitcase. She started to become more and more delicate over the years. I always told my mom it was all her fault that she was showing signs of aging because of the times that she hung by her ears outside, or all the times my dad would toss her around with my mom and my sister playing monkey in the middle with me. RUDE! My mom even had a back up Love-A-Lot, but I knew the difference. The back up was an impostor!
Love-A-Lot slept in my bed with me all the way until I got Gracie in 2005. Yes, I am not ashamed to admit that I slept with my childhood teddy bear until I was 21 years old. You can ask my college dorm mate, Love-A-Lot was always on my dorm bed. The ONLY reason I stopped sleeping with her was because Gracie felt like every stuffed item in the house was hers to shred. She wasn’t shredding my care bear, damnit! The joke in my house was that Love-A-Lot was going to walk down the aisle with me at my own wedding. Had we actually had a wedding ceremony with people, she might have found her way in there somewhere…if nothing else…as a laugh for my parents.
Last week I came ill. I had some type of 24 hour bug and I felt like death was upon me. Chris and I were getting ready for bed, and he was out in the living room shutting the TV off. I had already crawled in bed when he walked in and he looked at me and said, “Wow, you must really be sick since your bear made it to bed with you.” There I was, at 30 years old laying in my bed that I share with my husband, squeezing my Love-A-Lot bear that I dug out of my closet who is no longer the beautiful pink color that she once was nearly 30 years ago. Who is missing her little curly hair on top her head that I cut off when I was about four because I didn’t like it. Who is missing LOTS of fur all over her body. Whose tag has been worn to mere pieces of thread from all the years of me rubbing it between my fingers as a form of comfort. Who has caught most of the tears of my life. The one whom I always squeezed for comfort in time of anger or sadness. And let me tell you, that night I slept like a baby. I even had random unrealistic and vivid dreams, just like I used to when I was little.