the ponderings of a mother

These are the ponderings of a mother in love with her children, both in my arms and in the grave. Some of these ponderings are quite emotional, some are funny, others contemplative and spiritual. All are sincere. May these writings bless you in many ways and bring you closer to the one, true God and Redeemer of all things.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Meet "Jeppy"

I thought today would be a nice day to introduce Jeppy. I blogged a couple weeks back about a friend sending us a gift card to Build-A-Bear. For those of you who have never heard of this place, it is a store where you build a stuffed animal. When you walk in there are bins along the right wall with empty animal fur (like a stuffed animal without the stuffing- not like trapped fox furs or something). Above each bin is a prototype so you can see what your animal would look like should you choose to “build” it.

We walked along the examples and felt each one deciding if that would be a good bear to remember Jonan. In less than a minute I realized this was more sacred of an event that I had anticipated. We were not just going to choose any bear, we both had to agree on it and it had to be perfect.  Did we want stitched eyes or the plastic eyes? A white bear, tan bear, brown bear, or black bear? Fur…long or short? So many decisions. The easiest one was not to choose the Cubs bear J As in Chicago Cubs…Jeff and I never may never agree on that one. (Go Cardinals!)

We chose a soft, cuddly, tan bear with plastic eyes and a sweet smile. The sweetest part was that this bear had paw prints stitched into the bottom of his feet. It reminded us of our tender picture of Jonan that we share is of his precious feet. This was our bear to remember Jonan. 
 After choosing our bear shell we waited in line where an employee sits ready to stuff your bear as cuddly as you would like.  We wanted him firm but still soft. Before filling him up we gave her the little device with Jonan’s heartbeat recorded in it. She put it down in his foot so anytime we squeeze it we will hear his heartbeat.  Most kids love watching their bear be stuffed; they hand the bear over and trust the process. I, however, wanted to take this bear out of her hands and do it myself. I felt like an overbearing mama bear ready to rip the stuffing out of someone who messed with my baby bear. Strange, I know.

At this point in the process I was already so attached to this bear that when I walked away to put something back, I made sure Jeff would stay there with it until he was done being stuffed. We couldn’t leave him alone. It was SO much more emotional that I had anticipated! Sacrosanct. There were not tears, but there was intensity. The bear-stuffing employee handed us back our full bear already sewn up, and he was warm from the stuffing. Very cuddly.
The next step for this overbearing mama bear was to choose him clothes. This part flirted with the line of just too much for me. As you may envision, stuffed animal clothes are about the size of newborn clothes. They are all over the store on those little plastic hangars and so are the shoes. I am living the feeling I had then as I type.  Kimberly, this is a kids’ store with stuffed animals. You are fine. I forced some deep breaths and continued the fun search.  We kept circling back to this outfit that looked like something Jeff would wear. It was a cool button-up shirt with dark jeans. There was also a scarf that matches a fedora hat I gave Jeff for Christmas. This bear would look like he was Jeff’s boy for sure. Continuing on we found black chuck taylors, a guitar, and aviator glasses (exactly like some Jeff has). No kidding, I was buzzing that we found all this.

We sat down at the computer to register him so we could get a “birth certificate”. All the kids do this I guess. So we thought our bear should have the same. It was Valentine’s Day, so that was his birthday. In the "this bear belongs to" section we put our son's. And we named him Jeppy after his remembrance: Jonan Eilam Pelletier (JEP).  We stepped up to the counter where our certificate had printed. We paid the cashier and were about to leave the store when we stopped. We just needed to dress him right then.

We found at an empty register and carefully pulled everything out of our box. The store which had seemed noisy with kids and a giant stuffing-machine just minutes earlier seemed to still and quiet around us.  Jeff and I dressed Jeppy.  This may sound odd, but it was a very tender moment for us. We carefully put in one leg, then the other, pulling his little nubby tail through the hole in the butt of his jeans (so cute). We placed his arms through his shirt one by one, and each put on a shoe. I put the scarf around his neck. Then the guitar and sunglasses. Jeppy is not Jonan, but somehow it felt like we were supposed to be dressing someone this size right now. Jonan, I miss you sweetheart.

I was in awe of his hip resemblance to his “daddy” and Jeff seemed to just enjoy knowing he, himself, was just that hip.  We smiled, gave him a little kiss, and walked out the door.

This time we carried something home with us when we left.  I have wondered until this very moment why that walk to the car was so difficult. Why was creating this bear with Jeff and taking him home creating in me the same feeling I have so many other times when I miss Jonan? Why that feeling of my heart falling out of my chest? Without realizing it, I think my first sentence in this paragraph may have answered this question: This time we carried something home with us when we left.

And once again I am thankful to the Lord for caring for my heart in this small way. Jeff has also said that it would be great to purchase the highland outfit for this bear (the Scottish kilt – they sell it online for these bears) so that our children in the future can dress Jeppy in it at Christmas time. It would be a fun way to remember Jonan, and an easy way for our children to connect with him.

There is nothing magical or mystical about Jeppy and he obviously does not fill the emptiness we feel. But the truth is that matter matters and affects our lives. This time, it was nice to carry something home when we left.

1 comment:

  1. My husband died 3 years ago tomorrow. I had the funeral director get me a lock of his hair. I made a Build-a-Bear with it inside. It was very therapeutic.