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Rummaging through our laundry / storage room the other day, I stumbled upon my Christmas Bear. He wasn’t in a box or a bag. He was simply sitting atop some junk, looking expectantly with his oh so pleasant and heartwarming expression. I snatched him up and began petting him as the memories began flowing. He isn’t from my childhood. He’s from my first broken heart.

My Christmas Bear

My Christmas Bear

I had spent my entire sophomore year of high school trying desperately to get the attention of a particular boy. He sat two seats in front of me in Algebra. He was a year older and a football player. This boy of my dreams wore Levis, always a perfectly tucked collared shirt and white Nike’s with the red swoosh. He had a great butt. Sigh. Seems I often had to go to the front of the class to ask the teacher a question. Not even my white jeans (it was the 80’s) seemed to catch a glance. Never even said hello. My junior year things changed quickly. I was a cheerleader (well, alternate for 1 semester) and had gym class 6th hour. This happened to be when all the football players had gym class. There he was again! This time I caught more than a glance. I had my first real boyfriend.

My Mom was reluctant from the first phone call asking me to a movie. I suppose all mom’s are in this situation. She knew I was going to fall and fall hard. Which I did. As that Christmas rolled around things were serious enough “the boyfriend” was invited for Christmas Eve. I’m sure he was terribly uncomfortable. My family can be tough. There’s a photo time stamping that night somewhere, the only one of us together, though he would be in and out of my life for over six years. The Christmas Bear with a necklace dangling was his gift. I still remember the kiss goodbye at the door, my family partying downstairs, me in a semi-dream state.

I have no idea what the necklace looked like or where it is. But my Christmas Bear has been with me through thick and thin. He’s flown on airplanes. He’s taken long car trips. He went to college. That next Christmas “the boyfriend” was again invited. This time he was home from college and I had been pining away my senior year of high school. Unbeknownst to me, my Mom took him aside and suggested he break off our relationship. What?! Yes, she really did. She knew he was fooling around with all sorts of girls away at school and I wouldn’t even go get a pizza with anyone. I cried with Christmas Bear that night. Probably a lot of nights afterward.

I did date other boys. I survived to high school graduation. I still went to his college hoping we’d be reunited. He’d quit before I got there. Oops!  “The boyfriend” drifted in and out of my college days. I once vomited at the mere thought he was coming into my dorm because his car was seen out the window. He had me fairly messed up.  I stuck it out and even thought I fell in love a couple more times. I graduated and got my degree. Then I got another chance with “the boyfriend” when I moved back home. Things were different, I was different. He really wasn’t. I was finally able to let go of the broken heart and be thankful for loves’ lessons. Christmas Bear moved to Florida with me and had his spot on my bed for many years. I’m sure he got relegated to the laundry room to save him from being torn apart by the dogs. It was good to see him again. I washed him and he’s been hanging out. Considered giving him away… just for a second. Nope. Can’t do it. He’s my Christmas Bear.

May need to save him from Grimm!

May need to save him from Grimm!

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