This is Julia’s very special friend Beary.
He is wearing a “tuxedo” she fashioned for him especially for Valentine’s Day. She told me he is her Valentine and she intended to take him to school today for the Valentine Party. I immediately disagreed with this idea. I’m not a proponent of taking your toys to class. They can get lost or damaged and they’re a real distraction from what you’re there to do. (I know. I’ve been a part of more than one office desk toy kidnapping and that was when I was “grown up” and in the workplace. Because it’s hard to share. And someone always takes it too far or too seriously and bad things happen. You get called in the office because that ransom note was “inappropriate” and Sheila* had a panic attack because the purple Beanie Baby Bunny was a gift from her dead uncle and she hasn’t the strength to make cold calls without it. Also, the purple “blood” stained her desk.) And so, when she left Beary behind and marched into school, I didn’t think anything of it. I assumed she had chosen to heed my advice and obey her mother.
Seven minutes later, my phone rang. The call was coming from Julia’s school. I panicked, as you do, because a call from your kid’s school while they’re in school usually means someone is sick (probably the kid) or in trouble (probably you).
“Hello, is this Mrs. Grimmett? Julia’s mom?”
“Julia is here in the office because there was something she wanted to bring today and – I’ll just let her talk to you.”
Now I was really panicking. What was she supposed to bring to school? What was she supposed to bring to school?!?! I wasn’t on the party parent list. Was I? Oh no, was I?
“Mom?” she sniffled into the phone.
“I forgot Beary! Can you bring him back?”
And immediately, I was angry. Because I’m kind of a jerk. “Julia! Julia, NO! I told you, you don’t need to take Beary to school….”
But she was crying. And her teacher had given her permission to bring him for the Christmas party and today was also a party day. And Dave has been gone so much lately (and when he finally did have more than one day at home, he ended up with cellulitis again (yes, again)) which means she hasn’t spent much time with him at all and though she’s said very little about it, she has been especially attached to Beary. And she just sounded so…little. Most of the time she seems so grown up. But she’s not. Really, she’s still little.
So, I changed my tune and cooked up a compromise. “…I’ll tell you what. I’ll give him to grandma and have her bring him to the grandparent’s lunch today. Would that be okay?”
She brightened. “Alright.”
“Are you okay?”
“Uh huh. Thanks, Mom. I love you.”
I’m so thankful she does. “I love you, too.”
*not her real name (for obvious reasons)