Tonight I introduced Dean to Cheer Bear, my beloved Care Bear from childhood. I got her when I was 6, the age he is now. I'll never forget getting in the car in my pj's with my mom, my Mim, and a box of Apple Jacks, and waiting in the Howard Brothers store parking lot. Once the store opened, we ran straight back to the toys and grabbed the exact Care Bear I wanted. Cheer Bear is the pink bear with the rainbow on her belly. I slept with her pretty much every night until I got married. She's lived in the top of my closet since we moved here. I didn't want toddler Dean to find her and risk damage, so she stayed tucked away. Tonight, we were reading Corduroy at bedtime. If you don't know that book, it's the story of a little bear who lives in a department store. In the end, a little girl buys him and he finds a loving home and a lifelong friend. I make it to the next-to-last page before crying most of the time. When we finished the book, Dean said, "Corduroy is like Stu to that girl." Stu is his monkey, really just a blanket with a head. We got him as a shower gift when I was pregnant and Dean has been snuggling with him all his life. When he made that observation, it seemed like the right time for him to meet Cheer Bear.
I ran and got her out of my closet and showed her to him. I told him her name and how I came to have her and that I had gotten her when I was exactly his age. He carefully inspected her, feeling her fur, poking her rainbow on her belly. "Her nose is hard." He giggled at the heart on her backside and smoothed her formerly curly hair, now stiff with age. "I think Stu and I could cuddle with her." I let him take her from me, marveling at his gentleness. After a few curious squeezes, he carefully handed her back to me, and I returned her to the top of the closet.
When I went back into his room, he had Stu wrapped around the back of his neck, which is how he's always held him at bed time. He thought for a second, then said, "Mom, I don't think Cheer Bear should play with my Angry Bird plush. They might be too rough. She's kinda old."
Good call, Dean.