The reason to have stuffed animals when you are young is because they get to hear all the good stuff. They sit in your room all day, waiting for you to come home from school. They are soft and warm on an uncertain nightmare filled night.
When you sit on the bed, and lounge on your pillow, you can tell them anything. A secret. A person you like. You can tell them about recess. You ran faster than the boys. You jumped rope and sang the songs. You jumped out of the swing when it was at its highest height. You can’t wait to go outside and play hide-n-seek and king of the hill till dark.
That night you snuggle that stuffed animal. You feel his familiar ear pressed to your cheek. You drift off to dream. The next morning, Winnie is on the floor. He goes back on the pillow and sits waiting for you again.
This stuffed animal is a favorite of yours for a very long time. As you mature, Winnie finds himself on the shelf. You’re a teenager and he hears your music, and one side of the conversation as you sit on the phone. Girlfriends that come over during the weekend help to fill in the other side of those phone calls. Sometimes you are quiet, an he sees your sad face, then you reach for him. He gets a hug and his fur full of tears.
You grow up and you are married and have children of your own. You get the grandbabies stuffed animals and wonder which one will be their favorite? Will they cherish one and tell them their secrets? Will they fall asleep with a soft ear pressed to their cheek?
You think of your teddy bear. He is sitting downstairs in an old rocking chair, all day, all night. You feel a bit silly, but you bring him upstairs and place him on your pillow, just for a minute, before anyone sees you. He looks at you with those brown glass eyes. He looks so small and vulnerable. Picking him up and squeezing him tight, he has that familiar comforting smell of home. Those long ago wonderful years that made you in to a strong woman and the stuffed animal who loved you the whole way.