Once upon a time there was a boy and that boy had a bear. The bear and the boy spent many days together. They shared joys of life as well as the hard times.
This bear actually joined the boy’s life before the boy was even born. His mother and father carefully picked out the softest bear in the store just for their unborn baby and they were inseparable for many years. Until one day…the bear was lost. He was left all alone at the toy store. And the boy cried. All day long. The next day the mother promptly went to the bear store and purchased another bear. Except this bear wasn’t the same. He didn’t have the same smell or the same feel. He wasn’t worn and loved like the first bear. And he was rejected by the boy. A few days later, the boy’s grandmother went to the toy store for a gift and saw the lost bear sitting in the manager’s office waiting for his owner to claim him. The grandmother had saved the day! She brought the bear back home to the boy and they were reunited.
But a funny thing happened. The boy actually started to love the new bear. He was accepted into the family. He loved him and in no time, the new bear was worn and loved just like the old bear. He became the nighttime companion to the boy. He became the requested bear and in no time he became loved, worn and was affectionately known as “Dirty Bear”. Dirty Bear was the boy’s best friend. He was the one that could cheer up the boy when he cried. He was the one that could make the boy happy when all was wrong in the world. Dirty Bear’s tag was a familiar smell that comforted the boy. The mom thought, like Winnie and Christopher Robin, they were together forever: “We’ll be friends forever, won’t we, Pooh?” “Even longer,” answered Pooh.
But that was not to be. One day, eight years after Dirty Bear came into the family, the mom found him under the bed, dusty and forgotten. When the mom brought this to the boy’s attention, he replied with, “You can have him.” What? What happened to the two being together forever? Had the boy really grown out of having a bear? When did he grow up?
For now, the bear resides in the mom’s closet but he is definitely not forgotten. He will be kept forever and loved even if he’s not a sleeping companion or a comforter any longer.
“Promise me you’ll never forget me because if I thought you would, I’d never leave.” — A.A. Milne