Few people if any would describe me as sentimental. I’m known for being pragmatic, sometimes ruthlessly so. Every puzzle piece in my life must serve a purpose, and once it ceases to do so I start working out its exit strategy.
I try to play the same role in other people’s lives. I believe when we meet people and develop a relationship of any kind, we should leave them better than we found them. Too few of us are only there to take and take, and give nothing substantial in return.
Even so, there is one semi-sentimental attachment in my life I hang on to. His name is Sergio. He is dark-skinned, with big brown eyes, of medium build… and he’s a teddy bear. This Christmas makes it five years since he’s been in my life.
I’m so hopelessly attached to this bear that when I quit my job in Jamaica and came to America to be a nomadic writer, I brought teddy with me. Best believe I wrapped him in a towel and stuffed him in my suitcase.
“You really brought that thing up here with you?” Mom said teasingly, when I pulled him out and stuck him on my bed.
“Yes,” I answered unabashedly. “Of course I did!”
She smiled to herself, shook her head, and left the room. My mother understands perfectly well why Sergio isn’t going anywhere. He serves a unique purpose in my life that nothing else can.
So what is that purpose exactly?
Teddy is a constant reminder to me of how far I’ve come. Whenever times get tough and my whole life seems to be falling apart, I see teddy at bedtime and I remember that there was a time when life was much worse.
2011: The year when I was faced with the possibility of dropping out of college in the summer, because we couldn’t afford it anymore.
Mom had lost her job and my college degree had already drained her savings. We were barely getting by. But when I decided I still wanted to visit her in America during the Christmas season, she bought the ticket anyway.
Though she was glad to see me, she was also disappointed in herself and maybe a little embarrassed as she told me she didn’t have the money to provide me with a good vacation. No more of those fancy lasagna TV dinners I loved. We couldn’t go out much. And we probably wouldn’t celebrate Christmas that year.
I was appalled. I already knew we were broke, and I knew full well we were lucky to have found the money for my last year of college. With all that on the table, I wondered why on Earth she thought I cared a fig about Christmas presents.
I was an easy-to-please-21-year-old. Give me access to WiFi and I would sit in a corner all day listening to music, writing, photo-manipulating, and playing video games. I barely even remembered to eat half the time.
Nevertheless, she needed the reassurance. “I don’t care,” I told her. “I didn’t come here for that.”
Tears brimmed in her eyes, and I changed the topic to something more pleasant. I told her I was expecting all A grades for the fall semester, and that I couldn’t wait to finish the new house I was building from scratch in The Sims.
The unpleasantness then took a backseat as we played catch-up on what I’d been up to since my last visit in the summer.
As Christmas grew closer, Mom grew more and more anxious. The Christmas of 2010, I’d gotten an iPod. The Christmas before that, I got a new laptop. And every Christmas, I got $100 to spend on whatever I wanted.
This year Mom had none of that to offer.
Finally, it was a few days before Christmas. She had scraped together some funds and asked me what I wanted for the big day. I shrugged and told her I didn’t want anything. She pressed, but all she got for her efforts was silence.
Later that week, we did some last-minute shopping at a local dollar store. While I walked the aisles, I came across Sergio and all his brothers. I plucked him from the shelf, stuck him under my arm, and carried him around the store.
Mom found me a few aisles over looking at electronic toothbrushes.
“Do these work?” I asked about the brushes.
“Do you want one?”
“No.” I put it back.
“Do you want the bear?” she asked next.
“No, it’s okay.” I then stuck him back on the shelf to prove my point.
I don’t remember if we even had a tree that year. But I remember being presented with Sergio, an electronic toothbrush, and $40 the following morning.
My mom was worried I wouldn’t like them. She apologised extensively, promising me she would get me better presents when she found a new job. But I was ecstatic to have the bear; and $40 was $40 more than I expected to have.
I’ve ditched the iPod, killed three laptops, and been through several phones in the past six years. Yet my dollar store teddy is still sitting on my bed, and has lived in two countries with me.
Some people say Christmas is not about presents. It’s about family and friends and getting together. Yeah, sure. Christmas is definitely about the presents – if you know which ones to give. Even if it’s just a teddy from the dollar store, or the gift of companionship…
Happy Holidays, guys. May all your Christmas wishes come true!
76 thoughts on “Why Teddy will Always be my #1 Man”
I love the style of your blog! I also have a teddy bear that I have had for many years now. It provides me with a sense of security, and I do not care how old I am. Great post! I have just posted a new article as well, so please give it a look at: https://alyssaflanagan.wordpress.com/blog/
Thank you! I look forward to reading more of your posts 🙂
Thanks Alyssa. That’s great that you’ve held on to your bear. Sergio is the best cuddle buddy in all the world, sometimes big spoon and sometimes little spoon.
All the best! I already follow your blog. Only checking notifications for the moment.
Love this read🙌🏼
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Thanks for reading Sana.
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All the best!
What an amazing gift. I have a childhood photo of my toddler self that sits on my desk it’s one the best gifts I have ever received. I think you might enjoy this post it tells the story of Christmas gifts from another point of view as well.
I don’t think I have many baby pictures. As a teen, many of them were destroyed by a roof we didn’t know was leaking and I may have burned the rest. Terrible of me, perhaps.
Thanks for sharing!
I loved this! I started reading it because I’m twenty years old and still have the teddy bear from my childhood (which I sleep with every night), but this turned into so much more than that!
Awww. So sweet that you’ve kept him all this time! 🙂 and thank you. Me and Sergio definitely have a lot of history between us.
Surely you must love #ted
Indeed. I love no one better 🙂
How thoughtful your mum is. I was thinking about what children unintentionally put parents through – the constant spending and facing sad faces when they can’t give us something.
And also, I love when presents are so unique but important. I don’t need things but memories.
I never put my parents through that, but I know that’s the way it usually goes. I usually just bribed my parents. If I’m in the top tier of class or end the year with As, I expect a big present at the end of the school year. Worked like a charm every year until high school. One day, mom told me, you get straight As every year, find a different criteria 🙁
Hahaha moms are clever.
Lol yes. Mine is too clever for her own good.
Happy New Year, thank you for the follow.
You’re welcome Barbara! Happy New Year to you too 🙂