My favorite little bear of all-time is Paddington Bear. I read all of the books when I was a kid and still have my little set of them. My mother had Simplicity pattern 8223 that was released in the 70’s and used it to make the little bear for craft shows when I was a kid. A few month ago when we were chatting on the phone, she told me she lost the pattern somewhere along the way and so I immediately went online and found it and had it shipped to her. This may seem like a sweet and selfless thing to do, but it came with a request. I wanted a bear!! I no longer have one from when I was a kid and I wanted one for my birthday which is tomorrow. A couple weeks ago when she was visiting, she arrived with a little bag and inside was a little Paddington Bear she’d made for me! I was thrilled! Like seriously crazy happy thrilled. You’d have thought she’d given me the keys to a new car! He now sits on a shelf in the living room, smiling out at me as a glorious reminder childhood and the triumphant return of an old friend who had once joined me on my happiest days.
During the visit with my mother, I found out she’d not yet seen the new Paddington movies which I thought were incredibly well made and super fun. She said she’d check them out, but I didn’t want to take any chances, so I made sure the first movie arrived on her doorstep the moment she arrived back home. Her birthday was yesterday so we usually chat on the phone today on the 12th, in between our two birthdays. She said she loved the movie, but even cooler, she’s given herself a new challenge. She’s going to recreate the movie version of Paddington in a stuffed animal! There’s a Steiff version that I never had to chance to get before it became a costly collector’s item. So she’s going to use a few different bear patterns and design her own version as a jointed Teddy bear. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with! It occurs to me only now, though, that she didn’t actually say that this one would be for me. Must make a note to confirm that.
As my mother and I get older together around the same time each year, it makes me happy to have these connections to a time when we actually got to see each other every day. These days, it’s usually only 2-3 times a year. So this year, we had fun swapping versions of Paddington Bear to make each other smile, even when we couldn’t be together. I’ll have to send her the watercolor version as she doesn’t have a computer so she never sees my blog posts. And, I know, that one day as we both grow older and older, there will be an April 12th when there’s no longer a phone call. But I’ll still have this little bear on a shelf, smiling at me with his little note around his neck in my mother’s handwriting that simply says, “Please Look After This Bear.” And I’ll nod, walk over, gently pick him up, and hold him closer than I ever have before. There are many memorable gifts in life, but for me, in the end, I think the most memorable of all will always be the gift of Paddington Bear.
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Da Vinci Paint Co.: Quinacridone Red, Nickel Azo Yellow, Terra Cotta, Cobalt Turquoise and Cobalt Blue. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book.
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