Ever since my partner Val Curtis and I launched our weekly online magazine, Bonbon Break the dishwasher and I have a new routine.
(Forgive the shameless plug!)
Where I once got ready to publish a new essay each Sunday, I now go through my old pieces trying to figure out which one fits the best for the place I’m in this minute of time.
I have to say I enjoy it. It’s sort of like going through a box of old pictures. I start to read an essay and I am instantly transported back to the day I wrote it.
This essay, originally titled: The Long Goodbye, was first published in July of 2011. I’m happy to report that Fuzzy, though even older and more frayed than when I first wrote about him, is still going strong. Although Peter doesn’t need him as much, often forgetting about him for days at a time.
The hard truth is Fuzzy’s days are numbered.
Peter is seven now and desperately trying to be like his older brother. But, every now and then I can still find him sound asleep in his bed, Fuzzy safely in his arms.
Thank you for letting me re-visit this essay.
Watching someone you love get older and change is hard. The obvious question comes to mind, how will you go on without them in your life?
The time has come for our family to face a harsh reality: Fuzzy the Bear isn’t looking so good and probably doesn’t have much time left.
Fuzzy is the closest companion of our youngest child, Peter. Fuzzy has been a trusted and highly valued member of our family since Peter was nine months old and received him as a Christmas present from my husband’s nephew.
At first, Fuzzy was indeed Fuzzy. Fluffy even. He had a big plaid bow around his neck, and our little guy and him were inseparable. The bear was almost as big as Peter was. I loved the peaceful look on my child’s face as he would lay in his crib and cuddle and play with his friend.
I totally credit Fuzzy for allowing Peter to sleep through the night and deal with the stress of our family. Things can get pretty crazy around here.
We have gone through the constant ups and downs of having a child with special needs. The ongoing roller coaster of scary tests, scary behaviors, and scary diagnoses being considered and dismissed for our beautiful middle child, Lizzy, has been very difficult for my husband and me. I can only imagine how confusing it must be for both our sons to witness.
Peter was also speech-delayed and having Fuzzy to cuddle and hold made the difficult times a bit easier. Speech, occupational, and physical therapy sessions were a little more manageable if Fuzzy was there. I have to admit there have been plenty of times through the years where I have wished for my own Fuzzy.
Fuzzy has come with us on vacations, daily outings and even two hospital visits. Fuzzy proudly wore scrubs twice when Peter had to have some minor surgery at 11 months and again at 3. He has been returned late at night when left behind at grandma’s or lost in the car.
He was even with Peter when he started preschool at two until the school expelled the bear a few months later.
I’m told It was a pretty heated debate among the staff as to who was going to take Fuzzy from Peter the day it was decided that he would have to go it alone so he could learn how to play and communicate with the other toddlers in his speech-delayed class.
Fortunately for us the wonderful head teacher Miss Lara was willing to put up with the two weeks of Peter barely talking to her. The assistant teachers would laugh when Peter would come in all smiles and then just glare at his “once” beloved teacher.
Fuzzy has been washed more times that I can count. It’s not unusual for Peter to wait in the laundry room till his friend’s “bath” is over. It’s not unusual for me to secretly pray that the pillow case I use to wash Fuzzy in will once again protect his aging body from the rigors of the washing machine.
Fuzzy’s once fluffy yarn fur is now matted and looks more like a petri dish than a stuffed animal. The plaid bow that once adorned the Bear’s neck is nothing more than a memory. But, I suspect that adds to his appeal.
The other day Peter came to my room, crying and saying Fuzzy was broken. I was a little nervous. How would my little guy cope without his dear friend? How could I manage with less sleep than I already get?
Now six, Peter is certainly better prepared to go it alone. Words that were hard to say are coming more easily. Our family is learning how to deal with the uncertainty of Lizzy’s special needs. I know Peter could go it alone if need be. He has other animals that would help comfort him as he goes to sleep. But, there is still only one Fuzzy.
I gently took Fuzzy in my hands and gave him a quick Dr. Mommy examination. I noticed that the only thing really broken about Fuzzy, besides the obvious wear and tear from six years of affection, was that his ear was very frayed from where my son fingers him as he lies down to hear a story and fall asleep at night.
“Peter, Fuzzy is not broken, he is just very loved.”
“Fuzzy is loved?”
“Yes honey, that’s all.”
He went to tell his brother his new found knowledge. “Tom, Fuzzy’s not broken, he is just loved”.
Of course the time is coming when Fuzzy will no longer be there, or even needed. But for now we will both cherish the time we have left. And I’m glad a stuffed animal is all it takes to make the great big world a little more manageable for one little boy.
As always I appreciate the support you give me and my crazed appliance. Don’t forget to visit Bonbon Break this week for our special Halloween Issue. We have amazing Halloween themed projects and essays, plus, we are having a fun giveaway/contest each day!
Have a great week!
What a sweet story. None of my kids has/had a “fuzzy”.
I think I would have to duct tape Fuzzy and give him a great big hug!
Both of my kiddos are super-attached to their blankets and lovies. I can’t imagine a night without them.
Chris Dean says
This may be a little weird for a 42 year old to admit, but Blackie lives in a sealed plastic bag hidden in my closet. There he rests peacefully with Brownie. Blackie is a stuffed black monkey with a yellow belly and rubber head and hands. His right hand used to hold a rubber bananna before a toddler chewed it off, mistaking it for a snack. Brownie is a sock money sewn from one of my Grandpa’s brown work socks over 40 years ago.
Both of them were so well loved they’d probably explode with any new hugs, but both were kept by my mother long after their presence was required for sleeping. She gave them to be after my 3rd was born and I was at my wits end…(she was a preemie with a 3 month stay in the hospiital.) They still make me smile when I accidently find the bag. *grin*
Thanks to you and Fuzzy for the memories!
Fun to read again…your stories always make my day!
Lisa Gradess Weinstein says
The “Fuzzy” in our house was a stuffed dog named Biscuit who came to life at the store where you need a 2nd mortgage to create and clothe stuffed toys (Build-A-Bear). Biscuit came everywhere with us, and it broke my heart the day my now 15-year old stopped bringing the dog along. He still has an honorary spot on her bed, but hasn’t been played with for ages. Cue the Toy Story theme song here….
Such a sweet story, Kathy!! I love that he repeated your words to his brother and realized that Fuzzy was way more loved than worn. I hope you’ve been well and enjoying the beautiful weather!! Lots of love!
I love looking back at old posts – and what a freaking adorable name for the bear! I’m glad he’s still around.
Tori Peterson says
I had a Fuzzy. He was actually a rabbit named Lucky. For years I said he was a boy and one day I realized he had a skirt on and was indeed a girl. LOL. Both of my boys have matching teddy bears with different colored shirts that they are in love with. One is Brown Bear and one is Burr Bear. They are already showing wear signs and the boys have only had them for a year. They go everywhere, and even ride to school with my 4 year old. His school will not allow Brown Bear inside so I have to make sure he is buckled and waiting when my oldest gets out. Great story though, and wonderfully worded. Thank you for sharing it with us. 🙂
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