Why Teddy will Always be my #1 Man

teddy bear

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.

Meet Sergio

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.

A Reminder

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.

The Disappointment

Though she was glad to see me, she was also disappointed in herself andΒ  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.

Pressing

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.

Christmas Day

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!

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76 thoughts on “Why Teddy will Always be my #1 Man

  1. Sometimes those gifts touch us in the heart as well as make a physical touch. Cheers to you and your Sergio and may you have a happy 2017. Cheers. Thank you for swinging by the “Ranch” and for the follow. We πŸ’— visitors.

  2. Thank you for writing this. I have a similar bear named Kelto that my entire blog is built around. You are so right about that bear being the one constant in my life, throughout all the changes, the highs, and for me the present VERY lows due to my illness. It costs very little to make a huge difference for someone else. My bear was bought for my after my divorce (ages and ages ago now). Kelto continues to be the gift that keeps on giving every single day.

    1. Hi Marlie. That’s amazing that you’ve had your bear that long, and built a whole blog around him. Sergio has mostly stayed off my social media until now, but this was a story I really wanted to share for Christmas.

      I wish you both continued happiness for the years to come. Thanks for dropping by and sharing your story with me πŸ™‚

      1. Yes I did! I just recently let it go.. (it wasn’t easy) I’ve had Malik since I was a little girl! He’s definitely been through it all..

  3. Your Sergio takes me back to 1964 and Denny – a tiger almost as big as Sergio, every bit as important to me as I left home for college anxious about meeting my roommate. I found Denny in a 5&dime a couple days before departure date. Drove across the state of Texas with Denny in my lap (the car was FULL of my stuff – nowhere for a big tiger!) Arrived to discover I had NO roommate (well, except Denny) – I was an “overage” stuffed into what had been a utility closet, big enough for only one occupant. Denny kept me “together” through 4 years of college and then some! Please give Sergio a hug for me.
    (And thank you for following me on StepsAndPauses.)

    1. Hi, that’s a wonderful story about you and your bear. Can’t believe you drove with something that big in your lap. Now that’s dedication! Haha

      That’s actually not me or Sergio in the picture. Just a fitting media shot. He’s smaller, but full of heart and comfort all the same.

      You’re welcome for the follow. Thanks for dropping by and checking out my blog. I really appreciate it. πŸ™‚

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