We retraced our steps, checked lost and found at three museums three times. We looked under cars, in trash cans, and in trees.
Here’s the thing, if you found a clearly well-loved, dirty, lost-most-of-his-stuffing bear, what would you do with it? I’d set it carefully in a visible spot near where I found it, or I’d take it to a nearby store/museum/restaurant for lost and found collection. Other people, it seems, must think “finder’s keepers.”
Charlotte was hysterical for about 30 minutes. Then off and on sad for another hour. Now she seems rather resigned to the loss. She’s hoping Daddy can find her a twin bear to name Bubba and she’s trying to nap with Bubba’s Baby Brother and her other dozens of friends.
Philippe and I are, on the other hand, beside ourselves. I’m ready to cry.
Why, you ask? It’s just a teddy bear, right? Sort of.
Bubba helped Charlotte not have a meltdown when our trip to NJ took nearly 12 hours.
Charlotte’s teachers all knew to check her backpack at the end of the day to make sure he came home with her. The new Executive Director at our synagogue met us by asking to meet Bubba.
When I couldn’t convince Charlotte to leave Bubba at home for field trips at camp this summer, I made him a collar with an id tag. He came home every trip, safe and sound.
Bubba helping Charlotte nap at Ton Ton Ricky and Tante Andre’s home in Belgium
Charlotte usually carried Bubba upside down, rubbing his tag while she sucked her thumb. He sniffed her boo-boos to help them feel better. He went to every doctor appointment to help her be brave. Bubba recovered Charlotte from open-heart surgery when she was 21 months old, from ear tube surgery last month, and from every scrape and bruise in between. Sometimes he’s the only thing that can cheer her up when she’s sad or tired.
What I’ve learned today is that Charlotte is quite brave without Bubba, too. She’s bravely trying to nap; announcing that if Daddy can find a twin, she’ll name him Bubba; and telling me that she loves all her stuffed friends and that Nemo is also her best friend.
Sooner or later Charlotte will realize that he’s really gone. Gone forever. Her dad and I are sad because he is a symbol of all she has survived, all she has conquered, how far she’s come, and how strong she is. Charlotte will be devastated by this first permanent loss of a best friend and treasured bear. We’ll all never be the same.
Requiem for Bubba*
Bubba the Bear Ba Ba
Bubba the Bear Ba Ba
Bubba the Bear was always there, was quite a bear.
We had a bear named Bubba
He was like no other
We loved him like a brother
Bubba the Bear Ba Ba.
*To the tune of the Addam’s Family theme song. Don’t ask.
The “Bear Facts”:
Charlotte has more than a dozen bears. At last count I think the bear-ventory was 26. (We’ll get back to you on that.)
The name “Bubba” derives from Baby Charlotte’s earlierst attempt to say “bear.” To us it sounded like “buh buh.” Her friend has a bear named Ba-Ba. Same derivation.
Bubba traveled to Virginia; New Jersey; New York; Boston;, Newton MA;, Paris, France; all over Belgium. But Bubba got lost at home in Chicago.
Bubba survived vicsious 😉 attacks by Baxter the dog and other predators.
Bubba was vomited on more than even Mommy. He didn’t care.
Bubba has a purple imaginary brother. He’s not lost.
Mommy copes with the loss of Bubba by blogging.
Daddy copes with the loss of Bubba by going to Babies-R-Us. No luck. Now he’s online trying to track down the company that makes BRU’s private label animals.
Charlotte is trying to nap, as she promised us. But she is not asleep. Could be the rain. But, probably the bear.
I’m so sad that I’ve just left the laundry on the line in the pouring rain.