The point of this story need not identify of the owner of the 1-eyed teddy bear, but rather WHO this fellow is made all the difference in saving our son’s cuddly animals.
The man actually cannot be identified because he is a secret agent on a very significant level. He is close to our family and we all adore him but we keep conversation limited to family stuff, old friends, or school happenings. He signs his holiday envelopes as James Bond. It’s all very cool in a surreptitious kind of way, the “secret” in secret agent makes it sound so hush-hush, and the undercover missions we are never allowed to know about are wrapped in clandestine mystery. All very exciting, so what does this have to do with stuffed animals?
Our eldest is a strapping 24-year-old dude with beer posters in his room and a steady girlfriend at the helm.
Rewind about 14 years and here was a kid with a ton of stuffed animals, some from babyhood, others won at the amusement park, many from the big glass box with the grabber handle thingie at the diner. An admirer of big cats, one of his favorite was a huge white tiger with sharp blue eyes.
For a long time, my husband felt our son needed to unload his cuddly animals. I’d protest seeing the quiet sadness in our child’s eyes. The subject came up at significant milestones, like award ceremonies, moving from elementary to middle school, etc. I understood my husband’s point of view: he wanted to make our son grow up, be a man, get tough. I understood my son’s point of view: at that time he was still an only child and he wasn’t ready.
Then one year we visited Washington, D.C. and James Bond invited us to stay in his home. He was away, as usual, and he couldn’t say where he was, except that he would leave the key for us under the mat. Under the mat?!? He lives with all this enigmatic secrecy but leaves the house key under the mat!
It was very exciting to walk around his home. Medals, awards, Christmas cards from the presidents over the last 20 years, and as we walked upstairs to pick out our rooms for the night, there, in the middle of the master bedroom, sitting proudly atop the big bed, was a 1-eyed Steiff teddy bear with a worn nose, an untied yellow bow & fur so loved-off and cuddled, it was a treasure to behold.
It was also ammunition to ward off any more attempts to clear out stuffed animals from our son’s room. “If James Bond can keep his teddy bear, so can I!”
So that was that. More than a decade’s passed and on his own, our son has donated his stuffed animals along the way – but that’s the important part of this story – it was on his terms, his timing and his choice of where they went. The huge white tiger is now the centerpiece & reading buddy in a fantastic enrichment school.
I never take anything from my children without asking them. Together we donate what they choose to give up when they choose to. It teaches them to let go, to give to others and to stay organized. (Little One sorting>>)
There is a marvelous organization called YoungLives which helps teenage mothers. Every 3rd Wednesday, the young mothers meet at a church in Norwalk, CT to learn about God and their children, plus, they can choose items they need that people have donated.
When our daughter was ready to donate her toys or princess dresses, etc., we would bring them to the church and she would see firsthand the children light up with joy as they picked out what they would like. She saw a little 2-year-old boy dive into her Elmo chair exclaiming, “That’s mine, I love this chair!” And little girls picking out sparkly dresses. Or Barbies. Or unicorns.
The children were happy and it made our child well up with joy to see the kids’ faces light up while new life was instantly breathed into her cherished pieces. It deeply linked giving to pleasure. You can check out organizations in your area like YoungLives, Birthright, Hopeline or any organization that benefits a cause you believe in. We’ve also donated her crib, baby furniture and Pack-n-Plays.
Our daughter has given up lots of her cuddly animals, even packing & sending many huge boxes to Africa.
The Bright SpotTM – The exciting thing about the missionary we shipped her stuffed animals to is that they sent back photos of orphan children cuddling her animals! A fine day, indeed. Again, on our children’s terms while reinforcing a life skill of giving as a pleasure.
(This is a special 3-part post that runs from December 21 – December 28th. As you read down the page, you’ll know what I mean.)
I am so tired of people being offended by holiday greetings, holiday decorations, holiday traditions.
I just heard in the news yesterday that some people in England want everyone to take down their outdoor Christmas decorations because it depresses and offends them because they don’t celebrate Christmas and have no decorations.
Please read Mission: “Bright Spot” in the navigation bar above – just click on the flower.
There you will learn much about me…including that I come from a very large, close-knit, multicultural, multi-religious, multi-international, multi-lingual family.
We were raised to be open and accepting of all cultures and religions; raised to be respectful and open-minded. To be kind and thoughtful of other families’ customs and celebrations.
If you want to put up a tree, put up a tree. If you want to light a Menorah, light a Menorah. If you want to drink from a Kikombe cha Umoja Unity Cup for Kwanzaa, drink from the cup, but for God’s sake, stop your cantankerous yammering, put on your happy face and let the world celebrate…together!
Embrace the differences.
(Our Snowy Village and Christmas Tree)
I remember one year buying a Mezuzah for my brother-in-law. I had one of the Rabbis explain what it was. I initially liked its beauty but when he explained what it was, I was doubly excited.
As it was December 22nd, the Rabbi asked me what it was for. “It’s a Christmas present for my brother-in-law,” I beamed.
I explained that my father was Muslim, my mother a Lutheran, my sister and I were baptized Protestant, we went to Catholic schools for 17 years and my sister married a Jewish man, and that was just a glimpse of my very unique family…then the Rabbi hugged me and said, “You are what the United Nations should be!”
Today, my sister called to tell me her husband collapsed and was rushed to the hospital unconscious. As I wait here with the children, I can only pray. And then pray some more.
One of my cousins had sent me the following in an e-mail. It asks “How Do You Measure Time?”
The author is unknown but the message is clear. We don’t know how long we have with one another, so enjoy every moment.
To realize the value of 4 years:
Ask a graduate.
To realize the value of 1 year:
Ask a student who has failed a final exam.
To realize the value of 9 months:
Ask a mother who gave birth to a stillborn.
To realize the value of 1 month:
Ask a mother who has given birth to a premature baby.
To realize the value of 1 minute:
Ask a person who has missed the train, bus or plane.
To realize the value of 1 second:
Ask a person who has survived an accident.
To realize the value of a friend or family member: LOSE ONE.
Time waits for no one. Treasure every moment you have.
And hold on tight to the ones you love!
The Bright Spot – I have the power of prayer in my belief system. You may believe otherwise, but that’s the beauty of this nation.
We are strong because we are different. Don’t worry about who’s celebrating what. Celebrate with them and enjoy life!
UPDATE ON THIS STORY (the following morning):
As soon as the kids were off to school, I drove to the hospital which was more than an hour away (my husband went yesterday). And thank God I left so early! Here’s why:
My sister set off shortly after I left. We planned that I would visit my brother-in-law 1st in Intensive Care while she waited in the lobby with their little one. Then we would switch and I would watch their daughter while she visited with her husband. (Their little one wasn’t allowed upstairs because of a bad virus).
During my visit I found out that he had been feeling very ill, had picked up this virus while away on business, and then really felt ill yesterday morning. He felt so delirious, he could no longer make out the numbers on his phone to dial 911, so he called out to a neighbor nearby, waving, “Help me! Help me please!” She looked at him and drove off. He said he felt like he was dying and he didn’t want to die at home alone, he wanted to get to the public so he went to the nearby coffee shop and staggered in, telling the owner he was a diabetic and needed help.
The owner yelled at him that he must be drunk because he was slurring his words so the owner called the police – not an ambulance!! Then he threw my brother-in-law out the door and told him to wait outside for the police – excuse me, it’s 20 degree weather here!! No longer able to stand, he waited on the ground, delirious, weak and shivering.
The police arrived. My brother-in-law had just his last ounce of strength left to mumble he was a diabetic and was feeling very strangely and then he passed out.
Doctors told us when the ambulance arrived, glucose levels in a healthy body are supposed to average 100, his count was 1,700 and that he was close to slipping into a coma and was 10 minutes from dying. They actually say he is a “prime case study” because none of them knew how he didn’t die. Now I ask you – where is all this holiday spirit of love and giving and kindness and helpfulness? I was just sick when I heard all this!
So then, while I was visiting him in Intensive Care, a call came in from a hospital staff member telling me that my sister had slipped in the lobby, cut her hand on some rusty metal and was in the Emergency Room undergoing treatment, a Tentanus shot, and x-rays and could I come and get the little one.
The day was long for all of us. So what’s the Bright Spot in all this??
I remembered my own blog post above from yesterday – how do we measure time, how do we value time? I was with my sister, brother-in-law and niece. I was there to be a helping hand. I was there for a reason. It’s 2 days before Christmas Eve, our big celebration, when I could have been flitting about with last-minute preparations. And tomorrow is a big show on our radio program, I could have been preparing guest questions, etc…
But I was with family ~ and there was no other place I would have rather been but right there in the hospital…valuing my time with my loved ones.
UPDATE December 28th:
My brother-in-law has now finally been moved out of the Intensive Care Unit, thank God. He will be in the hospital for quite some time. Thank you so much for all of the e-mails that were sent to us last night – we appreciate it!
Thank you from my family to yours. Hold those you cherish close to you as you celebrate the New Year.