Have you ever awakened and felt a little bit like one of these bears? If so, feel free to raise your hand. I suspect that your hand isn’t so high in the air because you often feel like the fluffy fresh bear. No, I’d wager that more often than not, you feel like the worn, ragged bear. That’s okay. I do too. I promise there is good news in all of this.
Some dear friends of ours gave Parker one of these bears when he was first born. It was love at first sight. Each night, Parker still wraps an arm around Bear’s neck as his eyes grow heavy with sleep. He dozes all night with Bear cuddled up to his side. He drags Bear through the house, holding on to one scraggly arm. Bear is a regular guest for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. He plays cars and trains. He hikes up mountains and sometimes takes joy rides in the back of an old tricycle. He is snuggled and patted and kissed and hugged. Over time, Bear has become gnarly and matted. His once snowy fur has begun to darken into a pigeon gray. He often smells of morning breath and a hole above his nose has grown, causing stuffing to spill out on occasion. All of this has happened because Bear is well loved.
One day, I decided we needed a duplicate bear just in case we ever lost him. I researched the brand and found an identical one online. It arrived at our doorstep days later. I quickly discovered that Parker was not impressed with this newer fresher version of Bear. He tossed his new bear to the floor wanting little to do with the imposter. So the new bear sat around our house collecting dust for a year or more with little attention shown to him. No adventures. No hugs. No kisses. No love. And look at him now; he still looks great!
Here’s the good news, Mamas. If you’re ever feeling worn and weary, if your hair is matted and dingy, if you smell a little stinky, if the day’s adventures have exhausted you, or if you wonder if parts of you are perhaps missing (like your brain), it is for very good reason. It’s because you are loved quite fiercely. If Mamas were stuffed bears, we’d all look like the ragged one. We aren’t fresh as daisies. We aren’t a well groomed bunch. We aren’t completely intact. But we are loved so very well, and it shows.
Happy Valentine’s Day to all the worn and weary Mama Bears.