Wednesday, December 1, 2010

a big day for an old bear

I do not write very much these days because I spend most of my time watching over my friend Margaret. You see, a teddy in my position must continue guardianship over his human being for a lifetime and Margaret's lifetime, I have come to understand, as she tells me, is "winding down". 

Lifetimes are things I understand only a little; much about them still befuddles this old bear. Teddies are forever; human beings are not, and something about that seems sad and a little wrong. Margaret understands it better than I do, and tells me it is okay with her. This is simply how life is.

When Margaret told me awhile back about birthdays, she had to explain many things which go along with birthdays and while most things about birthdays are very happy--especially the cards, and cakes, and parties--some things are not. As I become more real, I have come to understand endings a littler bit and those are things which teddies do not usually think about. We are very much "in the present" as Margaret likes to say, and so yesterdays and tomorrows are not so important to us. I have learned that birthdays are partly celebrations of yesterdays and all the birthdays which came before, but more importantly, they celebrate todays.

So, I have a today to celebrate: my very own birthday!

Margaret was very, very little when I was given to her, and much of my history with her is lost now; neither of us remembers her birthdays back then, and I never had one back then to remember, to begin with. So, when we discussed birthdays some time ago, she asked me if I would like to have one--a day which we would choose for me. December 1 sounded good to me, and I liked 1951 for my year, because it was Margaret's year, too. So it was decided.

Today, Margaret made a card for me (I have not seen it yet) and will make a cake for me later this afternoon (also a soon-to-be-surprise). She, Steve, and my little brotherbear Muddy will celebrate my day today and we will remember whatever yesterdays we can.

Margaret has told me about birthday presents, but I told her that I do not really want any. I already have my presents; the best ones there are--my family and my friends.

There is nothing more an old bear needs.

Friday, November 5, 2010

becoming real (and other things)

In the past I have written about how much I wish to become real as Velveteen Rabbit did, but I wish for it to happen in a different way than it happened for him. You see, a magic spell caused it to happen and, although he was very happy that it did, it seems to me that it was a hollow thing.

Please let me explain...

I have told the story of how Margaret kept me stored safely away in a big cardboard box for many years until she rediscovered me and brought me back into her life a few years ago. It is as if we had never been separated for all that time. I have been included in many areas of her life since then and have learned much about the world of human beings and how life works. Somewhere along the way, after learning about Velveteen Rabbit, I came to wish to become real, too.

There have been many, many things Margaret has had to explain to me since she took me out of that dark old box, and I have learned much, partly because I have asked a lot of questions and Margaret has encouraged me to continue asking about any things which befuddle me--there are still many of those.

I understand a lot more about how life in the world of human beings works; some things are wonderful and some other things are not-so-wonderful. I have learned that there must be both good and not-so-good things so we are better able to appreciate the nice things when they are around. For example, winter is a fine thing because spring and summer follow it, a new day always follows the nighttime, and  disappointments must happen sometimes so we may better enjoy the times when dreams come true.

In recent days I have observed how disappointment works when a thing called "an election" did not turn out as Margaret hoped it would, and it has been a long time since I have seen her so sad about the outcome of a thing. So far, she has not wished to talk with me very much about it, but she is not one to avoid something important for very long, no matter how upsetting it may be. There was a time when, as her teddy, I was content just to be there for her and to make certain she had all the hugs she needed and a friend to talk to, but now I find I wish to know more about what she is thinking when life befuddles her. We have had some of our best talks during times such as these. In Velveteen Rabbit's story, he did not visit with his human being as I do with Margaret and I think he missed something very important: it is in communicating with our human beings that we find something inside us called "humanity", and Margaret tells me I have some of that already.

Humanity is a wonderful, yet happysad kind of thing, because it also means I have begun to feel things not usual for teddies. A teddy always feels concern for its human being, but I have also found myself a little worried about Margaret from time to time, for I have learned that while life in the world of human beings is often a wonderful thing, it is also often frightening, disappointing, saddening, and frustrating. Velveteen Rabbit saw some of this, but was not in the middle of it as I am. I do not think Velveteen Rabit understood how much of a responsibility being real truly is.

Becoming real means sometimes having to wait to understand a thing; it is important to be patient and to remember the waiting reminds us how important the understanding will be when it arrives. I have spent a great deal of time waiting, and I am seldom disappointed. Becoming real means that sometimes what I wish for myself must wait until a similar thing happens for Margaret, or Steve, or others important to me. Then, when it happens for me, I am that much happier, for I can fully understand why it is a good thing.

I do not know for certain, but I do not think that Velveteen Rabbit understood those things; a fairy showed up, touched him with a magic wand and he became real. That was it.

There are times when becoming real is very hard work, especially for a scruffy old bear, but, do you want to know something? I can not imagine a life in which feelings, or thoughts, or dreams are not important. Even the not-so-good times are not so bad because better times usually follow them.

Now, after all this thinking, I think I shall take a nice, long nap; that is one thing I think will always be important to this old bear.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

the world from a second story window

When Margaret first told me that she and Steve were going to move her office upstairs, I was a little concerned. You see, teddy bears do not always handle changes very well and this change would mean I might not see Margaret so much as I am accustomed. For one thing, she has made a decision to spend less time at her computer, which means I have seen a little less of her than usual. We still spend what she calls "quality time" together and that is enough for this old bear; she is happy and that is all that matters to me.

Well, as it turns out, the change has been a very good thing. From where I sit now, I see the world through a second story window--a thing I have never done--and the things I see now are wonderful! I have never seen the top of a tree before and can look out over the tops of several now; they are beautiful! I have seen birds land in the trees' branches and take off again, and wonder how it must feel to be able to fly as they do! I must remember to ask Margaret how they do that. 

I have enjoyed sitting in my little patch of sunlight on Margaret's desk when her office was downstairs, but my patch of sunlight is now considerably bigger and lasts a little longer now because the sun shines in through two windows instead of one! My little brotherbear Muddy is a little afraid of high places and has not yet joined me on the window sill, but I think that after he has seen me sitting there, looking out over the treetops, he will see how much I enjoy it and he will come to enjoy it, too. That is my hope, anyway. 

Another wonderful thing I can see from my new window is the playground across the way. It is a very nice place and children seem to enjoy going there to play late in the afternoon. I find myself remembering when Margaret was a little girl and how much fun she might have had at the playground she enjoyed back them. I was never taken there; perhaps she will tell me about those days if I ask her. 

The leaves are changing colors again because it is autumn and the sunlight shining through them is a beautiful thing to see! There are so many kinds of yellow and gold, and Margaret has told me there may be some red, too, later on. I look forward to seeing that.

I see that Muddy has turned toward the window and it appears he may be curious about looking outside. He is a little slower in his thinking and it may take him a little longer to decide if he is ready to join me on the window sill. I will not say anything to him about it, apart from telling him how beautiful all the yellows and golds are. I know my little brotherbear, how curious he is about everything, and think he will join me here soon. I hope so, because the view from a second story window in the late morning sunshine is a thing everyone should see at least once.


Muddy has on paw on the window sill...

This is going to be a wonderful day now.

I just know it.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

befuddling times and better times for my friend Margaret

Human beings are peculiar sometimes; I do not think I shall ever understand why they make things so complicated for themselves. Perhaps I should explain.

My human being, Margaret, is a good person, but sometimes she takes herself too seriously. Apparently this is something that a lot of humans do, and they continue to do it until they figure out that they simply aren't enjoying life very much. I am happy to write that she has finally figured that out for herself and is smiling again. For the past while she was getting those little lines between her eyebrows that let me know she is thinking very far-away, difficult things. At times like those, a teddy knows he must watch over his human being very closely. That is why I have not written anything for awhile. 

Margaret is smart, but sometimes she is not very sensible and she is the first to admit it. I have seen how she immerses herself in whatever she does--as many human beings do--but forgets there are other things she should think about, too: friends, enjoying a sunny day, singing and dancing (I enjoy it most when Margaret dances to music in the living room...she is like the little girl I knew all those years ago, smiling and carefree). We had a conversation in which I pointed out to her that she seemed sad all the time and there were so many reasons why that should not be so. When I asked her what some of the good things in her life were, she frowned for a moment, then thought for a moment, and came up with a lot of grand reasons for smiling.

She knows that sometimes the more sensible thing to do when life seems difficult is to not get all befuddled by it. Sometimes human beings must remember that difficult times are usually not around for very long, that bad times usually turn back into better ones... 

...and sometimes it just takes a scruffy old bear to remind them.

Now, since Margaret seems to be on the mend again, I shall settle down for a nice long nap.

I think I have earned it.

Monday, September 13, 2010

growing up, befuddlements, and other things...

It has been some time since I had a chance to write in this blog. You see, as a teddy bear with a human being to watch over, my work keeps me very busy in a way most human beings may not understand, and watching over my friend Margaret occupies most of my time. 

Perhaps I should explain a few things...

A teddy is responsible for "being there", a thing which most humans do understand. It simply means that even if one is not able to actually do something for another, the knowledge that a friend is close by is enough. I think Margaret has been very glad that I have been there for her because she has been growing up a lot in recent weeks and whether a human being is growing up as a child or doing so as an adult, it is a thing better done with a friend nearby.

I was concerned for her for awhile (teddy bears never worry--we are concerned, you see). There are family issues, matters important to Margaret alone, and matters of the world which have worried her and I have had to remind her of the goodness around her. Sometimes human beings need that, and teddies are very good at offering such reminders. I believe Margaret would have come to see those things in her own time, but I thought it would be nice to help her see those good things a little sooner.

She later told me I did the right thing.

One of the many things in the world of human beings which befuddle me is the way that human beings worry so much--yes, befuddling, indeed. Worry does not accomplish anything and only makes itself worse the more a human being thinks about it. Margaret has told me that worry is sometimes a good thing, because it helps a human being decide how important a troubling thing is before they act upon it. I am still uncertain if I agree with her, but she has told me that is okay, that I should decide in my own time.

In my desire to become real as my hero, Velveteen Rabbit, did, I try very hard to understand how human beings think and that is a very difficult thing to do. They place importance upon things which I do not understand, which do not seem important to me, but Margaret tells me that same befuddlement is shared by many human beings, too. I do not understand unkindness, or the way people hurt each other, or war, or untruthfulness, and apparently a lot of human beings feel the same way, too, and that feeling happens all over the world.

I am only one scruffy old teddy bear, and I realize there are human beings who would not understand a teddy bear's way of looking at the world, but it seems to me that if human beings all over the world would slow down a little, take more notice of each other, sit down once a day with a plate of freshly-baked cookies and a glass of cold milk, and take a nice, long nap every day, that this would be a much nicer place to live for everyone.

That is what I think, anyway.

Now, Margaret is busy and does not need me quite so much today, so I think I shall take one of those nice, long naps. I am a very sleepy bear today.


Sunday, August 1, 2010

a scruffy old bear finds a new home

   I am new to this place and have come here because my human being, Margaret, came here first. Both of us had blogs in another place but were unhappy there, so when she told me she was coming here, I followed.
   She has told me she is very happy here and believes I will be, too, so we shall see what happens.
I had a number of friends in the other place, but did not have many come to visit very often; I hope there will be visitors here. I hope to make new friends as Margaret has encouraged me to do.I am a good bear and think I would be a very good friend.
Because some may think it is a bit odd for a teddy bear to be blogging and wonder what I am about, here is my story as I shared it in my other blog a few years ago...

   Margaret got me out of that old box last night. It is so nice to see again the inside of a room that has been lived in instead of the inside of a dark closet. It has been a long time; I thought she had forgotten me. She and I have a history, you see, and probably would not like for me to tell any of her secrets, but because I love her and she knows I would never do anything to hurt her, I really do not think she would mind too much if I reminisced a bit. After all, it is Christmas time. I would like to talk a little. But, then, I suppose most people would not care to listen to the ramblings of an old teddy bear, anyway...
     Yes, Margaret?
     "Yes, Teddy. It's me. You weren't expecting me to find you doing this little expose', were you..?"
  Well, no... Do you mind?
     "Of course not, Little Guy. Why would I mind?"
  You are not always the most open person, you know.
    "Yes, I know, but I'm working on it."
  May I continue?
    "I'm sorry. Go ahead, my friend. I won't bother you again."
  I knew Margaret a long, long time ago before she was Marge. She was a shy little girl with a lot of imagination. She liked to talk when she knew people, but most of the time she was content to play by herself. She liked to read, too--
     "You're making me sound like a little hermit, Teddy."
  You were not going to interrupt--
  She interrupted others sometimes.
  I am afraid I must confess that my memory is not so good. I have not been out of that box for so long; there is a lot of Margaret's life I have not seen. You see, when people give a teddy bear to a child they figure the bear will be there while the child is small: a friendly companion, company. The child will grow up as Margaret did and the bear will be outgrown like the child's shoes.
   Sometimes old bears are given away. I was one of the lucky ones. Margaret kept me. If she had given me away, though, I think I would have understood. Another little boy or girl would have loved me just as much. Their hugs and cuddles would have felt just as nice.
   Margaret does not know this, but I can feel her feelings and know what she is thinking. I believe it started when I was first given to her. The first thing she felt was happiness. But right now she is feeling a little sadness about leaving me in the closet for so long. I think she is doing the right thing by bringing me out again. Even if she does not remember a lot of our times together when she was a little girl, she sees me and remembers me as a friend. That is enough.
   I am not as handsome now as I was when Margaret and I first became friends. I think I had a ribbon around my neck and my body was nice and plump. My fur was soft and fluffier then. You can not see my mouth very well now, and I think I used to have my little red tongue sticking out a little (I am not too sure why this was...I think I am glad it is not sticking out anymore. It seemed a little rude...)
   I am a little scruffy, but, you know, it is not such a bad thing. I was in a little girl's life. We played together. If she sat on the floor, I was probably there, too. If she had a cookie, she probably tried to share it with me. If she went outdoors to play in the yard, chances are that I was right there with her. She loved to climb trees. I like to remember her and me in the big old maple in the back yard. She used to love to sing--still does--and probably sang to me as we sat among the leafy branches.
   There is a very sad thing about teddy bears. No one told me this next thing; I think it is something that Margaret has thought, and now I know it. Anyway, a teddy bear is pretty much forever but little boys and little girls are not. They grow up, have children of their own, then keep on growing until they become something called "old". Margaret is thinking right now that that she is not old and I will never tell her otherwise; in my eyes she is still that little girl who loved me and whom I still love. She is thinking about grandchildren some day. She is thinking that she would like to give me to one of her sons or to one of her grandchildren. I think I would like to be with a little child again...
   Yes, Margaret?
       "I am so very sorry."
   Sorry? Why?
       "You must have been very sad and lonely in that old box all those years..."
   Part of a teddy bear's job is to forgive and forget. I think that is why my memory is not reliable. I only remember good things. That is enough.
   Yes, Margaret?
       "Would you like to spend Christmas with Steve and me?"
   Steve? Who is Steve?
       "When you are done with your story, I'll sit down with you. We'll talk, and then you will meet Steve."
   I would like that. You love him, too?
       "Yes, I do, Teddy. Very much."
       "Yes, Teddy?"
   I think I will love him, too.
      "I know you will, my little friend. Teddy, I would like to give you a Christmas present a bit early, okay?"
   That would be very nice, Margaret. Thank you.
       "Merry Christmas, Teddy..."
   Merry Christmas, Margaret.

(And that is when she gave me a spiffy red ribbon as a Christmas gift.)