The family grows

How do you choose a new member of your family? This was a question that grot boy and I discussed at great length without coming to a conclusion.

I even asked Bobby, “What sort of a bear would you like as a new friend?” After humming and haaing for a while he suggested, “We could ask him if he likes chocolate.” I should have expected this response from Bobby but alerted me to the fact I should explain to all the bears, that the new member of the family might be a girl.

We looked at all the teddy bears near where we lived and none of them wanted to come home with us. After some weeks, I decided we couldn’t just continue to wait for a new bear to appear. We might never find one. So I searched the internet and found a shop specialising in teddy bears in the mountains nearby.

When I suggested to grot boy that we go for a ride up to the mountains next weekend he was not keen. “It’s very steep and the road is quite dangerous”, he told me. But I persisted, saying it would be a nice change from our usual rides. “Besides, bears usually live in the mountains,” I argued “so I’m sure we’ll find the right bear for us there.”

Grot boy had been right about the ride up the mountain, but when we got to the shop he agreed it was worth it. What a choice. Small, big, brown, black and white, smiling, sad, cute and ugly – they had them all. Except another Billy!

I was disappointed. “You can’t ever replace Billy,” grot boy tried to comfort me “we have to love the new bear for himself.” “Or herself,” I added.

Dwight and Ted 2 come homeAfter an hour of picking up and putting down one bear after another, giving them a cuddle, asking if they wanted to come home with us, asking Bobby for his opinion we were left holding two bears. “We should take them both,” grot boy said, recalling the wisdom of Solomon. “There’s room in our panniers.”

So we headed home with Bobby on the back of grot boy’s bike and me with two little bears peering out from my pannier bags.

It was only later that night, when introducing the new bears to Teddy and Buddha Bear, that I was struck by the momentous decision we’d made. Who are these bears? What will they be like? What are their names? How will they fit into our family?

©, 2013


A suitable period of mourning

The house was very quiet after Billy’s departure. Even Teddy, who had been disconcerted by Billy’s noise and rambunctiousness, found the silence perturbing “When will Billy be coming home?” he asked in a plaintive voice.

I was in shock for days after Billy’s disappearance and kept expecting him to march in the door and declare “Hi, I’m home. THAT was a big adventure!”

Mourning BillyGrot boy tried to cheer everyone up but wasn’t sure how. He told us over and over again, as if by saying so it would be true, “I’m sure Billy is happy wherever he is.”

We had been so focused on losing Billy that we didn’t give sufficient attention to the newest member of the family, Bobby. When he asked tentatively, “Do I have to go away on an adventure too?” we were abruptly reminded of our other responsibilities.

Grot boy reassured him, “ We want you to be happy with us and we’d really love it if you’d stay. We chose you especially from all the other bears in Apollo Bay because we think you’re very special.” We knew Bobby was comforted by this because he responded “I think a little bit of chocolate would be nice.”

After some weeks of mourning, grot boy said, “We’ll never be able to replace Billy but I think there’s room for another bear in our family. Why don’t we go on an excursion to find another bear who might like to join us?”

At first, the suggestion seemed sacrilegious. But after a few days I succumbed and asked, “So where can we go hunting for a teddy bear in Sydney?”

©, 2013