Friday night He-weasel and I were driving down the street. He saw something in the middle of the road and said, “It’s a teddy bear, get it.” My answer to these recurring requests of his is always the same. I think he just asks me to hear me say no. Just today we were on the freeway and he pointed out a abandoned shoe, TV and sofa that had last seen its golden years when Jimmy Carter was President. It is a game we play. He asks if we can have an abandoned and unwanted thing and I say “No way; no you can’t.” Friday night when he asked me to pick up the teddy bear I was all set to say no. I imagined a once loved best friend had been lost and it was now dirty, oily and had been run over a few dozen times. Something in me ignored my imaginings and made me say something I never say, “okay.” He-weasel stopped the car and I opened the door.
When He-weasel and I were going through infertility treatment we had loads of good luck charms. Truth be told we had a shrine of good luck charms that all promised to get us pregnant: eggs, candles, Buddhas, sea horses, mermaid sacks, lucky pennies, statues of fertility goddesses, and fortune cookies that we horded as evidence that someday this would work. However when we went for infertility treatment we would bring out the big guns of good luck objects. Each time I was poked, prodded, inseminated and injected there was a little furry baby bear that came with us. See, before I became a weasel and long before He-weasel was ever spoken, we had been bears. And in our couple mythology someday we would no longer be just two bears, someday a baby bear would come and make us the Three Bears. The little stuffed bear was a tiny talisman that stood in as a substitute until the real one arrived.
December 12, 2007 is when I finally gave up hope that all the injectibles and all the IVFs in the world were going to get me pregnant. That was the day that I took each and every talisman, good luck charm and symbol that had failed to get me pregnant and I threw them all in a Hefty trash bag and took them to the curb for the trash man to take away—-even the baby bear. For the most part I don’t regret making that decision. I didn’t have it in me to try again and I knew in my heart of hearts that I was not going to get pregnant and that to seek more treatment was a physical and emotional masochism. But, there have been many times when I thought of that little baby bear and felt some guilt for throwing him away.
Back to Friday night,my hand left the safety of the car and my better instincts were no where to be found when I reached down to the street, unsure what I would find. I brought the fuzzy bear into the car. He-weasel turned on the lights so I could inspect the state of our furry find. This bear who had been lost on a busy street and had no home and no one to love it, was completely unscathed. There wasn’t a spot on him. There was no evidence of his time on the streets. He looked like new.
I didn’t need to reach too deep to find the symbolism. It would take a risk to reach out to an unwanted and perhaps unloved child. I might fear the worst. I might imagine that such a child would be damaged and traumatized so severely that it would be unable to accept our love. All my imaginings might be wrong. The only way to know is to extend my hand into the darkness and see what I find there.
I just read this post to He-weasel and he said, “That baby bear, it’s not gone.” I thought he was being metaphorical. “Huh? What do you mean?”
“I followed you out to the trash and I took the bag back. It is all still here. It is all still in storage. All of it is still here. The baby bear isn’t gone.”
“Why did you do it?”, I asked him.
“That is what you do with things you love. It’s just what you do.”