It Started with a Bear – Learning to Let Go

Today, I almost started crying because of a teddy bear. Erin, the Irish Ty Beanie Baby to be specific. I know, it sounds ridiculous. But, let me explain:

When I was a child, we lived close to a gift shop in town that carried Beanie Babies. At the time (late 1990s) Beanie Babies were “all the rage” and it was cool to collect them. My sister and I would sometimes walk from our house to the gift shop and explore the latest collection of Beanie Babies. Sometimes, this gift shop would have Beanie Baby release parties where a very special new Beanie Baby would be released. It was always such a treat to go to these. 

At one point, I acquired Erin, the Irish Beanie Baby Bear. She had her tag, her tag cover, and was in good condition. I have always had a thing for Ireland, the country itself, the folklore, the language, the accent… so Erin was special to me. 

Okay, let’s be fair, it may not have appeared she was incredibly special. Last year, my mom sent me home with a black trash bag full of stuffed animals, and Erin was in there. She had been in there for God knows how many years, had moved from Colorado to Missouri with me, and was subsequently taken to my parents’ in New Mexico, then brought back to me in Colorado. Either way, she had her level of sentimentality.

My Mistake

Last year, before Honey was living with me full-time, he came over for the night and brought his not-yet-two-year-old daughter. Well, I brought out my big bag of stuffed animals so she would have something to play with. At one point, she and I were napping at home, and he was doing some work on a friend’s house just down the road. After the nap, I let her choose a couple of stuffed animals to take back over to friend’s house so she would have something to play with over there. She chose to take Erin. I shouldn’t have let her. Yes, it was my mistake. When we got back to friend’s house, Honey was ready to leave for the night. And that was the last time I saw Erin. I intended to get her out of the truck. My mistake.

The Loss of Erin

Fast forward not quite a year. Honey is here full time. His kids, a 7-year-old boy and 2 year-old girl, are here 2-3 nights a week. This, in and of itself, has been quite the change for me, but more on that later. A few weeks ago, Erin got brought up. Son asked where “his” green bear was, and I became upset. His green bear? That bear is mine! Of course, Honey did not quite understand this. Why am I so upset about a bear? 

Whatever, a few weeks pass. Tonight, we were at Honey’s mom’s for dinner. It’s about time to go home, and Son comes downstairs with Erin in his arms. He, of course, is excited. The first thing I notice? Erin doesn’t have her Ty Beanie Baby tag, which I am quick to point out. “Yeah, we ripped that off a long time ago.” I was crushed. Should I have been? Yes and no. 

The Reason Behind the Reason

As I am sure anyone who has had step kids can understand, there is a learning curve. I am so fortunate that my step kids like me. The younger one is a little harder to win over, but she still lets me help her from time to time, and I get the occasional hug and kiss. But, here are a couple of tiny humans, whom I did not birth. They belong to my man’s previous relationship. There is some hardship there. There is some hardship in being, but not really being. There was frustration on my end because I felt as though Honey didn’t really care about my feelings, that my bear was given without permission to his son. I felt as though he should have asked me beforehand if it was okay. Should he have? Well, I’m sure everyone has their own opinion. Should I have made such a big deal about it? Again, everyone has their own opinion. Is it worth fighting about and ruining a night with my Honey? No! 

Part of my reasoning for being so upset was that this bear could have been worth some money if in good shape, with the tag on it. Also, the “sentimentality” of my childhood, and my love for everything Irish (except, well, I still don’t much care for beer… don’t hate).  But in 5 years, is this going to matter? No!

What is more, lately I have been burying a lot of emotions. Emotions of frustrations that I’m not a “real” parent. Frustrations of “sharing” my man with his kids. Overall frustrations of life. Worry that I may never have my own tiny human to pass off my sentiments to. This frustrations came to a head with a little green bear.

Lessons Learned

As with everything that happens to us in life, there is a lesson here. I don’t like this lesson. In fact, I hate this lesson. Sometimes, I want to stop learning and just coast in life for a bit. But, you don’t get better if you don’t consistently learn. So, what did I learn here? For starters, don’t give anything sentimental to a 2 year old!

I have also learned to look past the immediate, and focus on whether this will matter in the future. Yes, I seethed on this for a while. But, Step Son really loves this bear. And that should make me happy.

I have learned have JOY in the present. Don’t focus on the negative. Step Son didn’t know (and still doesn’t) that the bear was mine, and it wasn’t supposed to be given away. But he is enjoying the bear, and I should enjoy that he is enjoying the bear. 

COMMUNICATE is a big one. I can’t get angry, and expect Honey to understand it all. There are going to be things that upset and hurt me, that he won’t understand. And vice versa. It’s a part of life. But I can’t lose my gasket, and expect him to understand the reasoning behind it if I don’t talk to him.