Friday, June 22

So Long and Thanks for all the Love

Something wonderful, and terrible, and jumping-jack-inspiring, and empty-tissue-box-producing happened last night. I wasn't ready for it. I didn't even consider it a possibility.

For the past week I have been talking with Lily about her thumb-sucking. She just turned five in May. She only sucks her thumb at night, while tightly gripping her Bearbear she has had since she was born. Bearbear is worn down in many places, always looking a bit dingy, and is often found suffocating under her pillow or between her sheets. He has been loved much and long.

I didn't really consider the rational approach to work, but I gave it a go for good measure. My tactic? Her teeth. I told her about her baby teeth and her adult teeth. What happens to your teeth when you constantly suck your thumb. I told her about the icky tasting nail polish some of her friends have used to help them stop. I told her she had some time to think about it. Lots of time.

Last night, after stories and songs, kisses and hugs, Lily pulled my face close to hers to whisper something to me.

          "Mommy, take Bearbear away. I don't want to suck my thumb any more."

          A long pause. Wrapping my brain around my own surprising fear.

          "Maybe you would like to just hold your Bearbear, and then just try to not suck your thumb. Then, if you really need to, you can."

          Coward! Even as I am saying those words, I know how dumb they are. Of course I want to her to stop sucking her thumb. We talked about it. But giving up Bearbear completely? I want her let go of the thumb-sucking, not toss OUR Bearbear aside and leap ahead ten years!

          "No, I think you should take Bearbear away, Mommy. If I hold him, I will want to suck my thumb and it will be too hard to stop."


It was the serious, thoughtful rationale that hit me. Seeing her own weakness and knowing herself well enough to know what she needs to accomplish her goal. She is FIVE!

After a minute long hug, where I try to reverse time and make her little again, I tell her how proud I am of her. I make it back to our room and start telling the mister what happened. Tears welling up. We both are silent. To most of you, I know it seems like such a small thing. Even as I am writing this I hear the silliness. But, it 's just the beginning. I don't think I will be ready for any of it.

So long, Bearbear. Thanks for all the love.


  1. AnonymousJune 22, 2012

    Silliness? I think not. I had tears in my eyes reading this. See, Maddie has Pinkbear, that has been here as long as Maddie has. They'll be 5 in August, and I'll die when Maddie says those words. And I'll never again read The Velveteen Rabbit or watch Toy Story 3 either. ;-)

    Marianne Ayers

  2. Thanks, Marianne. I tear up just thinking about it. I consider myself far from a fainting emotional gal, but this struck a cord, for the reasons I talked about. First chance I had this morning, I pulled out her baby pictures and just stared at them. Saying thinks to my God for such love filled five years.

  3. I will totally cry when Kenley gives up her giraffe and her blanket. I don't even want to think about it or it will make me cry too!

  4. Loved this post. Cried. Have had a few moments like this.

    But I'm safe on this specific front, I think. Only one of ours is firmly attached to an object (blankie) and he has informed me that he's never giving it up and will take it to college and into marriage...sucking his thumb the whole way. And I choose my battles with that kid. :)

  5. That my girl Dad is very proud of you. There will be many more episodes like these. watch your kids go off to college or getting married and leaving home. I still think back when you kids were small. So I know what you are saying. Love Dad

    1. Terri RonkJune 22, 2012

      I can relate to your dad! Many more and all precious...and all deserving of silence and joy and gratefulness! You are such a great writer! Yes, my tears welled up, too. And then I got my own picture albums out! :-) (And then you get to do it again with grandchildren and watch your children experienc what you've been trying to tell them!) :-)

  6. I cried, I cried for you, I cried for Lily, and I cried for Bearbear. Darn you Toy Story movies! So proud of Lily make the tough decision, but making the right decision.

    1. I know, right!?!? Thanks for bearing my burdens, friend. :o) Love you!

  7. What a wise little lady you have...a true thinker (wonder where she gets that from?? ;o) ) Ah sweet childhood, I see parts of it leaving my 5 year old too and it almost makes me want to fight her growing up...yet these are the things I've been trying to teach & train. How did that go so fast?