A few days ago on Facebook, I asked ya’ll to tell me what sort of bear you’d like to see me design next. What would he look like? What emotions would he invoke? What story did he have behind his eyes?
The responses were OVERWHELMING! There were so many people who had their own particular bear in mind, and some of them were so heartfelt and so touching that I just couldn’t decide what bear should come to life.
I took the three best options….no. Let me rewrite that, because all of the suggestions were great….ahem! I took the three options that spoke to me on a personal level and then asked everyone on Facebook to vote for their favorite. With a pretty nice lead, Kim Marie’s idea of a bear to support the troops won.
Now, let me say a few things before I carry on. Before I worked up this bear, I wanted to think clearly about what I wanted the bear to say, what I wanted him to represent, and what his purpose was. As many of you know, I grew up in a military family. My grandfather, my father, my mother, 3 uncles, and an aunt were all career military so I had some insight into the lives of the FAMILY that supports the troops. Without making too much of a deal of it, its the family of a soldier that often bears a truly emotional burden many people don’t readily think of. I recall my own father being gone for an entire year, if not for months at a time. And that’s just life. It can be hard for a military family when their loved one is deployed.
Its the child left behind wondering when (or if) mom or dad will ever come home, or the mother who wrecks herself into a nervous fit baking cookies to send to her deployed daughter, or the wife who hesitates to answer the phone, for fear it may be dreadful news regarding her beloved. It could also be the father, who spends a lot of time in a prideful boast about his son gone to war, as he strongly stands at parades, bearing a small American flag, fighting back the tears with a hand over his heart, a prayer in his thought. It could be the grandmother who remembers her grandson as a young boy playing hide and seek behind a huge pine tree, as she wraps a yellow ribbon around it now, hearing that his time in Afghanistan will soon be over. He’ll be home soon. And it could be the total stranger, the perfectly unaffected stranger with no family member at all gone off to fight and defend, who shows up at the airport when the soldiers return from a year long tour of duty….Because (believe it or not, it does happen) there is no one else there to greet them. Because they feel it a duty to thank them for the freedom we all enjoy in this country. Or a sister who finds herself watching the news more than she used to, because now she wants to know why her older brother has been sent to a foreign place to risk his life…. And to the young one getting nestled in bed, wondering why dad is now reading a bedtime story instead of mom, not quite able to understand why mom is gone, or what an Afghanistan is.
This bear is for all of them, for those that spend every other second of every day with hopeful prayer that the soldier they love and care for will come home soon. This bear is left behind for them, for there should be something for them these proud, supportive souls to hold onto. Something to grasp and squeeze thats different than something else they could easily cling to. Because this bear reminds them of the same story so many have, but so many can’t quite understand unless experienced.
If I camera were better, you’d see this bear is wearing mock fatigues……just in case there is a soldier out there who could use this bear, too. I figured if I “dressed” the bear in camouflage and black boots, he could be military approved…..sort of…..and easily stuffed in a duffel bag.
There will be no shipping charge ever on this bear if sent in the US. He has places to go, people he needs to be with.