Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Polar Bear with a Red Bowtie ...

See this bear?  It sat on a shelf in my mom's kitchen my entire childhood and it always fascinated me.  A few years after moving out of mom's I stopped in for a short visit.  Mom was sorting through all her 'junk' in preparation for a yard sale that day. On her sorting table was this little bear. I was crushed and told her how much I always loved this little bear. Originally it belonged to my grandmother and then it was my mom's so I felt it needed to stay in the family.  I asked if I could have it.

As a bit of background my mom never communicated very well. She was easily angered but would never discuss why. She would just stop talking for a few days and any necessary communication would be in short sharp sentences.  Then she would appear to just get over it - the anger gone as mysteriously as it appeared.

So, when I arrived at mom's that day she was already angry and when I asked for the bear she refused to give it to me.  So I checked the price tag, doubled the amount and left the money with her. After placing the bear back on it's shelf, I asked if she would hold it for me until I returned later in the day. She didn't respond and was still angry when I left.

Well without going into detail, I returned later that day as promised. But she had taken the bear off the shelf and put it in the yard sale. It was one of the first items to sell. When asked why she sold it and she said because it belonged to her and she could do whatever she wanted with it. I was heart broken, but not because she sold the bear.  I was heart broken because I told her how much it meant to me and she didn't care. I was hurt and she didn't care. I left to go home.  Later that evening I discussed the whole thing with my brother and then just put it behind me.

Fast forward 32 years. I was browsing through a junk shop located in an old house.  There were long halls and room after room full of everything you could imagine all spread out over 3 floors. I wondered around and found myself in the same damn room again and again.  So, I settled into a comfy chair to review the map of the shop. From that chair my eyes scanned the room and on the very very top of the tallest shelf I saw a polar bear.   It was covered in so much dust it looked grey but I knew it was THE bear.

I could hardly contain my excitement when I let the shop owner know I wanted that bear. The room was packed solid with merchandise but she skillfully navigated a tall ladder around all the breakables. I just kept my eyes on that bear. It had been on that shelf for so long it was stuck and made a crackling sound when she pulled it down. I asked where she had found the bear and she used the number on the price sticker to find an index card where she had recorded the town, street address and amount she paid.   She purchased the bear from my mother's yard sale for a dollar, brought it to her shop and placed it on that high shelf where it stayed for 32 years.  True Story.

After the initial hurt of the great yard sale incident and the healing conversation with my brother I never thought of that bear again; never longed for it or thought of it wistfully. But, I believe there are no coincidences. There was a lesson in this for me and this is what I decided: while I never thought of that bear again, I did resent my mom. I never talked to her about it but it was there and probably impacted our relationship in ways I will never truly know. This is not to say discussing anything with my mom would have worked.  As I said before she did not communicate well and would not have accepted or participated in a discussion.  The lesson for me is to be sure there are no white polar bears with a red bow' in my relationships.  Things mean nothing but relationships are everything.

Thanks for stopping by !!  


Jacklyn Young said...

Such a touching story. I love when the universe conspires with us!

Shirley Douglass said...

I agree, a very touching story. Thank you for sharing it. You are very right...things mean nothing when compared to relationships. Glad you got your bear...sorry you get it the way you should have.

Cara said...

Oh my goodness, isn't that such a coincidence?! How cool that you were lead to stumble upon that bear so long after!