Monday, November 29, 2010

Best. Birthday. Ever.

November 29, 1984

I woke up on the morning of my 6th birthday, smart enough to know I probably wouldn't be getting the circus in my backyard that I had wished for, but still naive enough to think it just might happen. What I was really hoping for, more than the circus even, was the brand new stuffed Care Bear that had just come out. The only thing I cared about was Care Bears. Big, miniature, stuffed, posable, cartoons - you name it. I wanted to live in the Forest of Feelings and Care-A-Lot and roll around on big puffy clouds with them. I was sick.

Literally. Sick. The previous year I had been hospitalized with Reye's Syndrome. I had spent half the year out of school, hence why I'm a year older than most I graduated with. I had to repeat kindergarten. Sounds kinda funny when you first hear it, right? But it was scary and Care Bears got me through it. The nurses would watch as I had the Care Bears reenact the soap operas that played on the tv. After 8 am, that was pretty much all that was on all day and it helped my mom pass the time as she worriedly stayed glued to my bedside. I think my dad even got a little hooked. I would escape into their world and forget the stark white hospital bed I was stuck in and the needles in my arms and the yucky tasting medicine and the horrible bananas they made me eat with every meal. Instead, I was in Care-A-Lot.

Deep down, I think this was a special birthday for my parents as there was probably a time where they weren't sure it I'd make it to 6. As I walked down the stairs for my annual birthday breakfast of ice cream waffles, I couldn't believe what I saw in my living room. It was better than a circus. It was Care-A-Lot. A huge Care Bear tent was perched on the floor. All my favorite bears were all over it floating on clouds and inside was my heaven. Every stuffed Care Bear I didn't own yet ( and there were a lot considering I only had 2 at that point) was lined up inside, ready for their Care Bear stare and looking at me like I was their new best friend. And I was. It was one of the first moments I remember thinking that wishes do come true.

But I also knew my parents were up to something. I heard mom and dad talking about money from time to time and I knew we weren't rich. This must have cost them at least a million dollars. There was no way. I started noticing subtle differences in my bears. First off, the new ones didn't have any kind of tag. They were also slightly bigger. I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but there was just something different about 'em. Kind of like when you know a set of identical twins and one's just slightly more attractive but you can't really pinpoint why. I don't remember the exact moment I realized it but when I figured out that my mother had spent months hand sewing every last one of those bears to look like the real thing (or pretty darn close), I also had one of my first moments of realizing what it meant to love someone. And I've never loved anything or anyone more.

1 comment:

  1. Tears are welling in my eyes. Wonderfully written.