This is Fuzzy Bear. Cute, huh? Well, as cute as he is, there is a sad story attached to the way he first entered our lives.
It all started one day, late Spring, as beautiful a day outside as anyone could wish for. A day when the children want to be "out there" from dawn to dusk...and so, as any self-respecting mother of eight, I should be happy to report that my own would prove that they were no different than any others.
That's all fine and good, right?
If I had my 'druthers, I would have skipped this day entirely, Fuzzy Bear notwithstanding. If I have the youngest two in the house with me, safe and sound, and the other six are "out there" making their own small marks upon the world, as near and as far as their own neighborhood, why would anyone suspect that this day would be any different?
But even tho' it started out typically enough, never in my wildest dreams could I have predicted that one of my own nearest and dearest would end up spending the afternoon in the hospital Emergency Room, carrying on about a small scrape on her small finger, of all things ~ and that I would be grateful that she was!
Let me start at the beginning:
Mike was at work, had been since early morning. I was home, as usual, taking care of the house and children. It was a school day. And it is what happened after school that day is so entrenched upon my mind and heart that I will never forget it as long as I live.
It was after school hours, and the kiddos were all outside playing. Theresa, Laura & Clare had gone across the street to play at a friend's house. Sometime during that time, Theresa had decided that she wanted to come home to get something. Carrie B., the mom of their friends, stood in her front yard, watching T cross, making sure the way was safe. I had received a call that she was on her way home, so I was at our door, watching and holding onto Julia so that she couldn't escape into the yard, as I could not leave the house with Stephen crawling around.
Well, as T was half-way across the street, our young Clare decided that she wanted to accompany her sister, so she ran out into the road without warning, leaving Carrie grabbing after her, and myself pushing J back into the living room, screaming to T to grab C's hand, but too late!!
As she was turning to go back for her younger sister, C was in the middle of running out to her, not giving a look to either side to check for oncoming traffic or anything.
Well, as you can imagine, "enter from stage right" here a neighbor's newly licensed daughter, driving at about 5 mph, coming around the bend, blissfully ignorant of what was about to take place. Thankfully, as this teen confided in me later, she was doing only a crawling speed; she was always absolutely paranoid of children in the street, and so she never went above 5-10 mph. If it had been anyone else, who knows what would have happened?!?
The next thing we knew, Clare was lying on the street, crying her eyes out ~ but happily, safe!
Of course, the police were called immediately, the ambulance soon followed, and the driver was soon giving her side of the story to an officer who told us that he came as fast as he could, thinking of his own grandchildren and how he would feel if it was one of them...he didn't give the girl a ticket as it turned out; she was crying worse than Clare was!
We got C into the ambulance, taking her to the hospital to be on the safe side; by the end of her little adventure, the worst injury she had suffered was a scrape here and a bruise there...the most painful of all being the sidewalk burn to her little finger. (This was the thing that caused her worst anxiety all the while she was in the ER ~ and the nurses told me that this was a good thing, let her worry about such a small thing! It will keep her mind off of anything worse...)...but this was the worst, thank God!!!
Poor Michael, having received an emergency call at work from our older son Paul, was literally flying home along the freeway from 30 miles away, imagining the worst had befallen one of his little girls! It wasn't until he arrived home that he was able to reach me at the hospital and relieve his mind that all was well.
And now, on to the entrance of Fuzzy Bear into our lives.
Our neighbor down the street, Kathy G., heard all about Clare's misadventure and was, as usual, all helpfulness and sympathy. It was she who gifted this small bed friend to my injured daughter, and it is she who is remembered as being the "neighbor who was always there for us."
Fuzzy Bear went on to become a favored playmate to Clare (who was only four at this time) ~ and to this day, he ranks with Clown as a bed friend extraordinaire...
Many bed friends have come and gone in my children's lives, but there are a few, special ones that remain close to our hearts. And for the adventure of Clare on that day, in gratitude for all of her non-injuries, I can only say that Fuzzy will hold a special place in my own heart, as well.