The Gift of Paddington Bear

Day 12 - The Gift Of Paddington Bear - #doodlewashApril2018 Doodlewash

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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About the Doodlewash

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.
 Day 12 - The Gift Of Paddington Bear - #doodlewashApril2018 Doodlewash


Recommended5 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
  1. Mary Roff 4 years ago

    I so love this story and your Paddington bear. Happy, happy Birthday!!!

  2. carmelcampbell 4 years ago

    What a wonderful son! Loved hearing about the connection with your Mom. Your sketch is good too!!

  3. carmelcampbell 4 years ago

    Happy Birthday!!

  4. Sandra Strait 4 years ago

    I love your Paddington bear! For some reason, I never saw the books when I was actually a child – probably hadn’t imported them yet (or they hadn’t been written yet), and I only read them as a teenager. Probably the reason, I never took to him as much as Winnie the Pooh. You just can’t bond with a book character in the same way once you’re past a certain age.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      Thanks, Sandra! 😃💕 So true… there’s a totally different bonding experience when you’re a little one!

  5. Jodi 4 years ago

    Happy Birthday tomorrow Charlie!!!!

  6. Vicki Rowley 4 years ago

    xoxoxo LOVE Paddington and your story. Happy Birthday to you and your Mom! I didn’t paint them but I still have my childhood “Bunny” and “Teddy” !!!!!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      Thanks so much, Vicki! 😃💕And yay that you still have your childhood buddies! hehe

  7. Claire 4 years ago

    Love your story (makes me feel good)
    Happy birthday 🎂🍾

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      Aww that’s so wonderful to hear! Thanks so much, Claire! 😃💕

  8. Ellen 4 years ago

    Your Doodlewash and story are enchanting! An old memory and a new memory to treasure. Your Mother must be a treasure too. I am smiling amidst the tears! I purchased this very pattern while I was expecting my oldest daughter in 1977. Paddington Bear was waiting for her in the nursery when I brought her home from the hospital. She loved him to death…literally and figuratively. Another Paddington was made for my younger daughter two years later. I must check through my boxes of old patterns, it seems time for another Paddington Bear. Happy Birthday to your Mother and you! Thank-you!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      Thanks, Ellen! 😃💕 Appreciate it! That’s so wonderful! Yep, the 1977 pattern is the very one my mom used. You should definitely make it again!

  9. Jan Williams 4 years ago

    I wish you both “many years”. Lovely memories, you are blessed.

  10. Sharon Nolfi 4 years ago

    I love hearing about the sweet closeness between you and your mom. I have the same sort of relationship with my adult son, who is also a lover of childhood toys and stuffed animals. I wish you and your mom many more years filled with fun and love.

  11. Rod Fletcher 4 years ago

    You definitely have a wonderful mum!

  12. Snehlata Maheshwari 4 years ago

    Nice to hear love of son n ma. Ma is the best friend of her kids. Happy birthday to you n ma. My regards to both of u.
    Oh.. U r story n 🐻 are excellent. Lie

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      Thanks so much, Snehlata! 😃💕 So happy you enjoyed this story!

  13. smzang 4 years ago


    I take so much pleasure from your art. It makes me sad to think your mother does
    not get to see and read your wonderful sharings. From the first day I visited doodlewash, I wanted a book that contained your thoughts and your art. It is on my
    bucket list of things that would make me blissfully happy. Now, think for a minute,
    if it would make me – a stranger – blissfully happy, what joy it would bring to your mother. It would top even your joy at receiving Paddington Bear. It’s the kind of thing that makes life good. btw…I love your Paddington Bear painting.

    I have a book that your mother should have. It is called The Teddy Bear Encyclopedia by Pauline Cockrill, ISBN 0-7607-1564-5 The first edition came out in 1993. It has some 500 pictures of teddy bears, as well as a Teddy Bear restoration section. I just pulled my copy off the shelf and leafed through it for a moment. It is almost as good as a trip to
    doodlewash for stilling the world in a perfect moment and definitely a book every arctophile should have. BTW, my son gave me my copy about twenty years ago.


    Happy Birthday to you!!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      Thanks so much, Sarah!😃💕 I’ll definitely have to check out that book! Sounds amazing! Thanks for the recommendation. And an illustrated memoir is definitely on my bucket list. 😉

  14. Mary Beth McDonough 4 years ago

    Loved reading your memories of you, the bear and your Mom. Happy birthday to you and your Mother. Wishing you many more April 12th phone calls. Great little Doodlewash.

  15. A lovely sketch for a lovely story 🙂 wish you both a real Happy Birthday and many years full of love and creativity!
    robert, absolute beginner

  16. whitefeatherfloating 4 years ago

    What an incredible gift from your mom, Charlie! Treasure her while she’s here; it is so hard when moms leave this world. My mom died April 15, 2006, and I will always miss her. I hope you have a wonderful birthday!!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      Thank you so much! 😃💕I’m so sorry to hear that. My father passed several years ago. But having this little reminder makes me happy to know she’ll never be far away no matter what!

      • whitefeatherfloating 4 years ago

        You’re welcome. Yeah, my dad passed away three years after her; honestly I was surprised he lasted that long without her. You are so fortunate to still have your mom. And what a thoughtful gift she gave you. 🙂

        • Author
          Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

          Aww thanks so much! And sorry to hear about your dad as well. It’s so tough losing a parent, but so wonderful to have great memories of them. 💕

          • whitefeatherfloating 4 years ago

            You’re welcome. Yeah, those were hard times, but I am thankful for the good memories for sure!

  17. SHARON A HASCHALK 4 years ago

    Awww………… Charlie, what a beautiful story. Your mom must be so proud of you and it’s obvious how much you both love each other. Yes, that dear little bear will be a bond forever between you and her.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕 Yes, we will always have that love and bond. No matter what!

  18. Jacob 4 years ago

    Happy Birthday Charlie!!!!!!!! That time again – and a year younger than the last, if you’re anything like me. I hope you’ve had a lovely day! <3

    I'm pretty sure this Paddington is the one my grandmother knitted for me, it certainly looks very similar. Neat! I'm excited for you about the movie recreation – I remember your doodlewash of him and he was soooo cute!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      Thanks so much, Jacob!!! 😃💕 Yep… growing a year younger each time like Benjamin Button. And yes… I can’t wait to see what she paints! I’ll have to sketch that one too! hehe

  19. June Hadaway 4 years ago

    I love this story and your Paddington bear. I don’t know of anyone that doesn’t love Paddington. Your mother will enjoy the pattern you sent to her. What a wonderful thing for you to do…so very thoughtful.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      Thanks so much, June! 😃💕I sent her a print of this post as well. Seems like a Paddington year for us… so fun!

  20. Mamabror 4 years ago

    That’s a really nice story!

  21. janellmithani 4 years ago

    Oh, such a wonderful story. Happy Birthday to you and your mom! Paddington Bear is so cute, and definitely timeless…

  22. […] tourist destination. Though I also had to visit Paddington Station in honor of my favorite actual childhood character, Paddington Bear, who is named after the station, having been discovered there by a lovely family. Yes, in all of my […]

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