LAST WEEK, ANAISSE AND HER SON TOLD ME WHY THEY LOVE THEIR STUFFED ANIMALS SO MUCH. I LEARNED THE IMPORTANCE TO GROW SURROUNDED BY THEM.
I opened the heavy pink door. It was almost six years without seeing my best friend! Anaisse was in there with her two children, Daniel and Vanessa, watching dancing videos. The first thing we did was hug each other. I embraced the children too. Those kids are like nephews to me.
The first day was fantastic. I was tired because of my flight from Seattle to Houston, but nothing could take away the excitement of seeing them again. We spent hours sitting on the couch and watching videos of the dance academy children attend, eating strawberry ice cream, and catching up.
Until something peculiar happened that night.
It was late, and I was about to sleep. Anaisse and I were still talking in the living room. I walked to my room. My friend followed me and said goodnight. When I opened the door, we both laughed: Someone had put teddy bears all over my bed!
Daniel, who is ten, was arranging each of the stuffed animals in the small bed. “Do you like teddy bears?” I asked. “I collect them,” he answered.
Then, he told me the story about his teddy bears. He collects them since he was a baby boy and how much they mean to him. But behind those engaging experiences, there is a story of learning and love. "Let your uncle sleep," Anaisse told him as I help them move the stuffed animals to the next room.
The next day, after breakfast, Anaisse told me the story I was waiting to hear the night before. "As you know, I am the only child of a single mother. When I was little, my mother worked all day," she told me. "So for many years, stuffed animals were my only company." She held one of Danny’s teddy bears. “I used to sit all the stuffed animals on the floor and introduced them to the new member. The last stuffed animal I bought was Pipo. Then I had my first child: Daniel. I passed it to him when he was two. As you can see, he no longer has eyes. Danny and I decided to sew some button eyes because we feel so much love for him.”
While I was listening, I saw her big expressive eyes and how much this moment meant for her as a mother.
When Daniel was little, he went through something similar.
“We used to live in a small house. So, at first, we didn’t have space for a pet. I was a teen mom, and I didn’t know how to be a perfect mom. But there is something that I did know: a stuffed animal would make my son very happy, which is what happened to me. And it worked. Daniel liked to talk to them as if they were his friends. And squeeze them.”
When Daniel was going to turn four, Vanessa, his sister, was born. However, his love for his stuffed animals remains the same.
"I think stuffed animals are linked with his inner child," says Anaisse. "Soon enough, he might decide that he wants to give their toys and stuffed animals to other kids, or maybe a girlfriend. For now, we are together, side by side, and with Pipo as a company, watching his videos and the sun vanishing through the window.”
Author’s bio: Edd Tello is a writer of children's and Young Adult literature. He has worked as an English teacher in kindergarten and elementary schools. Last year he studied a master's degree in creative writing in Spain. Edd is currently a high school teacher in Mexico.