Honey Bear

The Guideposts executive editor shares why a stuffed bear comforts his son.

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What does a 22-year-old leave behind when he leaves home for the last time?

Will got in the car and said goodbye, heading off across country for his job and his future. Feeling shell-shocked, Carol and I went back inside and foolishly enough, I looked into Will’s bedroom one last time. There on the top bunk was Honey Bear.

Honey Bear goes back to before Will was even born. Someone gave him to us as a shower present and Carol christened him for his honey color and Pooh-like temperament. When we came home from the hospital with the squirmy, pink, placid baby—oh, was there ever a sweeter baby—Honey Bear was waiting in the crib.

They’ve been through a lot together. Late-night bouts of the flu, a broken elbow, chicken pox, the occasional nightmare. Honey Bear had to make room for William’s little brother and a host of other stuffed animals. There was the squishy football named for Troy Aikman and the beanie babies that were all the rage. Honey Bear saw the posters on the walls change from sports heroes to rock stars and the boy stretch out so that he barely fit in the bunk bed. Losing his plush golden color, Honey Bear never lost his place of honor next to the pillow.

He didn’t go off to college, but what would a bear do with all those econ and stat courses William took? He knew plenty about constancy, warmth and getting kicked around to the bottom of the bed. I guessed it was all right that a grown-up like Will, far more capable than I could ever imagine, wouldn’t need his old friend anymore. But I didn’t want him to forget, as I would never forget, the sweet trusting nature that brought him through the turmoil of childhood. 

“He doesn’t want Honey Bear anymore,” I said to Carol.

“Yes he does,” she replied. “We’re supposed to send him when he gets settled.”

Got that old bear? Soon you’ll be heading to a new home.

Rick Hamlin is the executive editor at GUIDEPOSTS.

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