It's the night before the first day of school. Everyone's in good spirits, some more excited than others, but it's good enough. My youngest sat in bed, cuddling his little blue bear, “Baby.” I smiled as I remembered the first time I gave him that bear. He was a small guy, maybe three-years-old. He was going to bed and experiencing his typical nighttime anxiety, not wanting me to leave the room until he was fast asleep. I sat at the edge of his bed and picked up the little blue bear, and put it into his arms. He quickly cuddled it. I told him that he needed to be brave to take care of “his” baby. From that day on, “Baby” became part of the family.
As a mom of three boys, this teddy bear was uniquely special. None of my other boys owned a special doll or stuffed animal. It never crossed my mind that all kids didn't do this, that is until I had all boys.
I remember the panic I felt when we first lost Baby. I thought he dropped him in a craft store while I pushed him and Baby around in the cart. But later that night, I was so relieved to find him safely tucked at the bottom of a closet. I think I cried I was so happy. This bear had become such a precious symbol of my youngest son's childhood. It had become a treasure.
Fast forward to the night before school this week when my youngest calmly got out of his bed and carried Baby to the closet. Next, he reached up onto his tippy toes and placed Baby on the top shelf of his closet. Then he walked back to his bed, announcing that he was now retiring Baby since he was going into the fourth grade.
And just like that, the little blue bear found himself back on the shelf. He was dirty and worn at the edges, but he represented a job well done, helping my little one feel safe at night for all those years.
My husband heard of this big announcement and declared that we needed a special ceremony to properly retire Baby, so he pulled the little blue bear back down and asked us all to place a hand on him as he spoke sweet words. All the boys giggled at the silly ritual, but I couldn't help but cry.
My little one was growing up.
I too, no longer had my baby.
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I'm a mother of 3 young boys, the oldest suffering from Bipolar 1 Disorder. I write a blog to let go of my pain and to help support others by letting them know they're not alone.
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