While his hoarding tendency means that he, literally, brought more to this relationship than I did, when it comes to the important stuff, we somehow manage to balance.
He brought Maggie.
I brought Maddy.
And we both brought our childhood teddy bears.
His, "Paddington," is on the right.
Mine, uber-creatively named "The Bear With The Bell In His Ear," is on the left.
Each bear somehow made it through the trenches of our messy childhoods -- despite matted fur, patched-up holes and glassy-eyed stares -- mostly intact. As their reward they now perch just beyond the reach of the next generation of sticky-handed, would-be eye pokers and ear tuggers.
Paddington and Jed used to do a lot of skydiving together. Well, Paddington -- stripped of his raincoat and hat and instead wearing the latest styles designed by mom and grandma -- would skydive with a parachute and Jed would push him out of the plane. They were inseparable friends until one dangerous adventure when Paddington skydived into a lamp, got stuck and burned his little bear backside.
You can't replace friends like that.
Which is what I was thinking as I recalled my most vivid nursery school memory: Bringing my prized Bear With The Bell In His Ear to show-and-tell. I was so excited to show and tell all about its amazing, stupendous, unique secret -- that he did, indeed, have a bell in his ear. (What can I say? I've always had a flair for the obvious). But instead, found myself listening to the hiss of a tow-headed little girl, wearing a smart, navy sailor suit, as she threatened to remove his jingle with her safety scissors.
Poor bear. He never left my room again.
That is until recently when he and Paddington went to stay with a neighbor of ours, who has a gentle way with well-loved toys.
Nursery magic, as The Velvetine Rabbit can tell you, makes toys real. But Margot Curran makes them immortal.
I do believe our bears' best days are yet to come.