Saturday, April 11, 2009

Teddy Bear Smiles and Not So Sweet Dreams

Like many other children, my granddaughter has a favorite stuffed animal she wants to hug while she sleeps. Her bedtime companion is Finney, a Build-a-Bear puppy born in Branson. From the time she warmed his “heart” in her hands, Finney has been her nighttime companion.

Last weekend at bedtime, her question was “Where’s Finney?”

Her mom, Stacey, told her, “He’s in the car with Daddy.”

“But Daddy is at the races!” my granddaughter said. “Finney is alone in the car. I feel so bad!” She buried her face in my lap.

We spent several minutes reassuring her that Finney would be OK. My granddaughter insisted, “He’s afraid of the dark!”

Stacey handed her a big Teddy bear. “You can sleep with this bear until Daddy gets home.”

“Why don’t you hug him?” I asked her. “He hardly ever gets hugs.” The snuggly brown bear had a big sewn-on smile and an orange ribbon around his neck.

My granddaughter hugged him tight. When she held him out to look at him, she said, “Oh, Grandma Linda, his smile is bigger now. Look! He’s so happy!”

I finished a few things before going into my bedroom. She was fast asleep on my bed with the bear hugged to her heart.

With such a pleasant evening, I expected a good night’s sleep. Instead, that was the first night of a week-long series of bad dreams. Night after night, I dreamed about packing for a trip. Nothing seemed to go right in the dreams: the van showed up to take me to the airport before I had my suitcases packed, I couldn’t find my passport, my purse was missing. The scenarios changed but the disturbing dreams continued all week.

Last night, I slept restfully without any bad dreams. I awakened to discover my arms wrapped around the Teddy bear—his nose to my nose. Daylight flowed through the windows, and I could easily see his smiling face.

Not quite ready to wake up, I closed my eyes for a few seconds and thought about the weekend ahead. Easter weekend will be a celebration of Easter egg hunts and services at the Mathewson Center. But the best part of the weekend is my sons and their families plan to join me for Easter services. With our hectic lives, it seems we are seldom together.

With my eyes still closed, I thought about other Easters—the time Jim and his brother-in-law, Dennis, caught a stringer of fish; hiding Easter eggs too well and helping the kids find them; huge family meals at my mother-in-law’s house, dressing the kids up in their Easter outfits, and a rush of other memories about Easters past.

I opened my eyes and smiled at the Teddy bear I still held in my arms. He smiled back, of course, with his sewn-on happy face. Maybe my granddaughter was right—his smile seemed a bit bigger than it had been. Well, at the thought of the weekend ahead, I know mine certainly was.

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