Since she was a newborn we have called my oldest, “Chloe-bear.” Now, she is 9 going on 16. She asked me recently to find her beloved teddy bear that she had as a toddler. I was surprised by the request, because sometimes she just seems so grown up and independent already. Somewhere in the many moves we have had as a family, it must have ended up in storage. When she was two or three, she begged me for this little bear while we were perusing the aisles of Target. It was before I knew the days of having babies at home with me all day would come to an end quicker than I realized. I’m glad I gave in to her cries of needing yet another stuffed animal, because the memories that come with objects of love are priceless.
Along with her “lovie,” the little bear with a heart on it’s chest was what she wanted to take with her on her first day of preschool, as well as her first day of Kindergarten. I told her that anytime she missed me, she could get out her bear and hug it tight and I would be thinking about her, too. I remember the bears head bobbing out of the side backpack pocket when I watched her walk away on those big “first” days.
Neither of us had thought of it until last week, when she vaguely remembered having a bear with a heart on it’s chest and wanted to know where it was. I tore through every storage bin and found it, along with a long forgotten blanket that she had come home wrapped in from the hospital. I left them both on her bed for her to discover when she got home from school that day. She squealed with joy when she saw them and slept with them that night. This morning, I found them both on the kitchen stool… lost treasures from the morning shuffle to get to school.
This growing up thing sucks. I don’t know how to handle it. Days are flying by faster than I can comprehend. In just a few years, I will be the parent of a teenager. It’s a terrifying and humbling thought. It is also a beautiful part of life. The art of letting go has been a running theme throughout this blog. I didn’t plan that, but I think it’s because letting go is a significant part of life and being human. I am stunned that I don’t have babies anymore. They are growing up and figuring out who they are and what they want to be in life. I am honored to be a mommy of two amazing little girls and to get the chance to witness life through the eyes of children.
Chloe’s request for her long-lost bear was a reminder that she will always be my Chloe-bear, my first-born, my baby girl. The bear that sits in my kitchen right now, has reminded me to take things slow and enjoy every second. Though it will be painful, letting go is another journey in life that will be cushioned by strong bonds, love, and family memories.
I’m still not a fan of my girls growing up so fast, but it’s good to know they still need their lovies and teddy bears. One day their objects of love will be unnecessary and forgotten, but for now they are still needed at nighttime and left on my kitchen chair.