Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Parable of Pink Bear

As a parent you want to help your children not make the same mistakes you have made. You want to ease their way in the world. You know, maybe make life not so hard. Maybe spare them some of those painful life lessons. To do this you might tell them stories of your own painful experiences in hopes that they will relate and learn from the story how to avoid having a similar fate--learning a difficult, painful lesson the hard way.

But sometimes you find, despite your best laid intentions of story-telling that the actually story proves way more interesting and the lesson becomes lost in the telling.

And such is the case with the story of Pink Bear.

Yesterday was a lovely day. While driving home from our bike ride we had the windows down and radio turned up. We were all singing along; the kids in the back were seat dancing too. Then I noticed in the rear view mirror that Beau was holding Husky (his stuffed husky dog) out the window. Now Beau does not have a particular attachment to Husky exclusively. But he does like his little stuffed animals and rotates between Husky, Shushu (teddy), and Cici (Bald Eagle). He always brings one of his stuffed animals with him even though he shows no particular preference to anyone in particular.

Nonetheless I knew that if Husky flew out of his hands it would bring much discord to what had so far been a harmonious day. And with Ryan out of town I desperately needed the harmonious day to persevere for my sanity alone. So I told Beau to stop holding Husky out the window, telling him that he might fly out of his hands and be lost forever. Beau assured me that he was holding on tight, that Husky was most certainly not going to fly away.

I turned off the radio and rolled up the windows and asked them if I had ever told them the story of Pink Bear? No?

Once upon a time when I was a little girl I loved teddy bears. And my most favorite beloved teddy bear was pink bear. Pink bear was, well pink and also had a music box and even though the music box was broken I still adored Pink Bear.

One time Pop and Lala and Justin and I were driving to Grandma's.

Here the kid's interrupt and want to know where was Pookie. Isn't she my sister? Did we leave her home alone? How come she couldn't go to Grandma's with us. Was she bad? And, by the way, where is this Grandma. Is it Grandma Virginia? (Ryan's Grandma) Or is it the first Carmella (my great grandmother)?

I explain that Pookie wasn't born. I was only 4 and Pookie wasn't born until I was 5. And it is a Grandma they never met. She is in heaven, I assured them. Now be quiet and listen.

So on the ride to Grandma's we had the windows down and I was holding Pink Bear out the window.

Beau wants to know what Justin was doing?

What? I don't know. Probably being carsick or drooling. I don't know. That doesn't matter. So I was holding Pink Bear out the window . . .

Beau asks if Justin is Baby Duncan's daddy? And then wants to know if he is my brother?

Carmella tells him that Justin is my brother and is indeed Duncan's--who is their cousin-- daddy. She also tells him that Patric is Daddy's brother and Baby Pat is also their cousin.

Beau nods and adds that Patric is Meme's daddy.

Nooooo. Patric is Meme's husband. Peter is Meme's daddy.

Who is Peter?

Never mind, just be quiet and LISTEN! Please.

Okay, so I was dangling Pink Bear out the window when he was suddenly ripped out my hands by the wind. I screamed and cried and carried on until Pop turned the car around and went and found Pink Bear.

I was so happy to have Pink Bear back and quickly forgot about Pink Bear flying out the window only moments before. Foolishly I held Pink Bear out the window and again Pink Bear was ripped out of my hands. And again I screamed and cried until Pop went back and got Pink Bear.

Pop got Pink Bear back and warned me not hold him out the window again. Saying that he wasn't going back to get him this time if he flew away again. Well, of course I didn't believe Pop so of course I held Pink Bear out the window again. And of course Pink Bear flew out of my hands again. But no matter how much I cried and screamed Pop would not go back and get Pink Bear. Pink Bear was gone forever and I never saw him again.

And kids, that is why you do not hold your stuffed animals out the window. They will fly away and be lost forever because Mommy will not go back and get them.

But Mommy, Carmella interrupts: Why don't we just drive to your Grandma's house and look for Pink Bear. I am sure it is still there.

Ugh, no. Of course Pink Bear is not there. This was like 30-- a long time ago. Besides, I definitely looked when we drove back home and then again the next time we went to visit.

And then Beau said, well you could just go to the store and buy a new Pink Bear. Carmella agreed that this was a good idea. Maybe if I just asked Pop nicely, you know said please, that he would buy me a new Pink Bear.

Ugh, no. Pink Bear was special. You just can't buy another Pink Bear!



Then Carmella said that she was pretty sure that Pink Bear was still there. I probably didn't look hard enough.

Ugh, no. You know what, never mind. Forget about Pink Bear. I rolled the windows down, turned back on the radio and watched without comment as Beau held Husky out the window; unconcerned and without consequence.

Some days, as a parent--no matter how hard you try-- you just don't feel like you are explaining things right. Sigh. I guess there are just somethings--no matter what you say or do -- that they will have to learn the old fashioned way; you know, the hard way.


  1. Your dad was nice (or soft) to stop the first two times. ; )

    Sorry the parable didn't work on Beau. You never know - he might have understood it.

  2. One day, you'll get a phone call, from Beau, complaining that his daughter/son missed the point of his'll think back to this post and giggle.