I named my kid after my bear.
I looked at my bear last week thinking of how long he had survived; how much we had been through together; and then I realised that I had unknowingly named my son after him.
Stoffel is short for Christopher; which happens to be my son’s second name.
Stoffel is a legend in his own right. He has been with me since a tiny baby; he was possibly bigger than me then.
He came with a big brown bow around his neck, which has long since been lost.
That isn’t the reason for Stoffel being a legend though. As he was one of my favourite toys he would go everywhere with me. All my pillows and me.
As you know I have an affinity with animals, and it isn’t much different with my childhood bear. He isn’t just some old bear; he has personality; he has cha-ris-ma; he is ALIVE.
Now because Stoffel was dragged literally from pillar to post he would be misplaced. You do of course know what happens when a little girl loses her favourite toy. Tears squirt out in a projectile waterfall fashion; and her face and eyes remain red and spotty until the absent toy has returned.
So instead of being missing in some unknown place; all sad and alone; Stoffelious Bearikins had scaled the wall and had gone to raid Mikes Kitchen. One day he even came home with a drop of tomato sauce on his chest. His crime unveiled. I considered acquiring him his very own Birthday Meal Card.
Stoffel also enjoyed the offerings at the Veldskoen Drive-in. He had hidden under my duvet and mountains of pillows to escape his discipline post burger, chips and Green Slush Puppie gorge in the cafeteria. Stoffel and I don’t have memories; we have adventures.
Truth be known Stoffel was a friend when I didn’t have living furry friends to play with; he consoled me when I cried, hugged me tight and made me feel safe when I was scared. He even let go of his mucho exterior and enjoyed some tea and cookies with my dolls.
Stoffel is now retired but still has a conversation with me now and again. Don’t judge; sometimes I need expert advice. Just this morning I asked what he was made of; as I stitched a new hole in his now matured armpit, and he answered: “fluff.”
When I realised a few days ago that he and my son shared a name: I told My Boy and he replied with “I can see the resemblance.” and I can too. Their rigid exteriors hold inside a kind heart; strong arms to hug and hold onto and beings that bring miles of smiles. My bears.
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