Bear was a gift from my Grandparents when my son was born.
He joined a collection of various other stuffed animals in the nursery, until the day after my Grandad died, when my then 14-month old son picked Bear out from the pile and has never let him fall far from his sight since.
I am not sure I believe that my Grandad paid a supernatural visit to my son, or if it is merely a coincidence, but the timing both spooked and comforted us all.
Bear sleeps next to our now 4-year old boy. He comes on holidays with us. He joins us at the breakfast table.
Bear is another member of our family.
As far as our son is concerned, Bear also has equal voting rights when it comes to making important decisions over whether to have Cheerios or Weetabix for breakfast; or watch Jake and the Neverland Pirates or The Tigger Movie again.
Bear has been there to hold on to when our son has been sick, tired, or inconsolable over not being allowed to have chocolate buttons for lunch.
Bear has his own favourite bedtime stories and his own favourite toys.
We have overheard him being referred to as a best friend and as a baby brother.
There was a time when we could not leave the house without Bear. I can breathe a sigh of relief that those days are now behind us, but Bear still sits pride of place at the head of the bed, and is still the guest of honour at all of our carpet tea parties.
Bear will never be handed down, taken to a charity shop, or retired to the loft.
Other soft toys have come and gone. They have been played with and may even have enjoyed an occasional night on the bed, only to swiftly find themselves relegated to the toy box once their novelty wore off.
Lion was introduced to the fold a couple of weeks ago by an old family friend.
He spent his first night cuddled up next to our son, after which we assumed he would spend the following night at the foot of the bed, before taking up a permanent residence on top of the bookcase.
However, two weeks later and Lion is still enjoying the view from the top.
Lion has even started joining us for breakfast.
Lion is the softer, shinier, sleeker, younger model. He is playful and exciting and knows lots of new games.
Although Bear has not been cast aside entirely, he is expected to politely share his domain with this new young cub on the block.
I am hoping it is just a phase.
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