On the day I was born, my dad rushed from whatever odd job he had at the time (either a Lumberjack or Mechanic), picked up a teddy bear wearing a sweater with the words “I LOVE DADDY” in all caps with a heart for the ‘O,’ and met my mom at the hospital.
I’m very sentimental when it comes the the people I care about, but I don’t often translate that into objects; this bear is one of less than ten things I keep that are related to someone else.
Whenever I think of this bear I have a sweeping train of thought, all centered around my dad and how we’ve both grown over the past 30+ years. I think about playing Final Fantasy 4 in his lap, probably making the game much harder than it had to be – asking him to fight monsters or promising I knew which way to go. To him working on a new car, seeing my brother choke on a sandwich from over a hundred yards away, sprinting over, pulling out whatever he had choked on, tapping me on the nose and saying to look out for him and then just walking back as if nothing happened. To our old Cadillac breaking down in the snow and him pushing it home alone (a distance that would be a 10-15 minute drive). Him making pizza, and silently badmouthing anyone else’s crust, knowing he could make it better. Or him carrying me home when I begged to walk to the store with him, and then after getting there saying I couldn’t walk back, him tossing me up on his shoulders and walking for 20-30 minutes bags of groceries in both hands.
He was my own personal super hero, doing the best he could for his family, but he’s human just like everyone else. The bear also reminds me of the fights we’ve had, the distance between us physically and emotionally, it reminds me the I haven’t called in a while, and that I probably know word for word how the call from this train of thought will go.
The bear to me is a set of memories and reminders, sitting on a shelf in my closet, waiting for me to have my own child, giving it a new owner who I can try my best for, having my own shot at being a super hero.