Anyone who knows me even a little bit knows that I love my Build a Bears, and that they travel with me. I take pictures of them in random places on my travels. I think all six of my Build-a-Bears have been to Minnesota, since I come here at least once a year (and usually more).
When I was packing for my short, 3-day trip to see my parents for Dad’s surgery, I debated whether or not to bring one of my Build-a-Bears. But in the end I decided against, since it was such a short trip and I wouldn’t be visiting any MN sites. That, and I wondered if it was a little inappropriate, especially if anything happened to Dad. (Also, I was bringing our smallest suitcase, and I don’t think I could have fit one in there!)
However, within a couple hours of arriving in MN, Dad asked which Build-a-Bear I had brought. I had to confess that I didn’t bring one. He looked mock-hurt and said something like, “What? You don’t want to take a picture of one in bed with me?”
After Dad passed away, I thought about his disappointment that I didn’t bring one of my Build-a-Bears. What to do? I decided to make one for him one that could play with him through eternity.
Sweetie and Andrew took me to Build-a-Bear at the mall while we were also shopping for funeral clothes. I picked out the Shaggy Dog, and made two of them (you didn’t think I wouldn’t need to keep one, did you?). Sweetie warned the BaB employee stuffing our bear that mine was for a funeral, so she downplayed the stuffing ritual a little. Andrew, Sweetie and I all put hearts in both dogs, sending our love to Dad.
Sweetie looked at the stuffed dogs and declared that they told her their names were “Henry”. When a stuffed toy talks to you, you have to listen. Then I looked at them, and discovered that Dad’s was “Henry John” and mine was “Henry Joe”. Why? Because “John” was Dad’s middle name, and “Jo” is mine.
Then we went to pick out clothes, which had to be Dad’s normal “uniform”: jeans and a t-shirt. They even had a t-shirt that said “Father of the Year”, so each of the Henrys got one, along with jeans, tube socks, tighty-whities, and white tennis shoes (with red and blue stripes). The only difference between Henry John and Henry Joe is that the bottoms of Henry John’s shoes are pure white where the bottoms of Henry Joe’s have a bit of red. This was a fluke, but make it easier to tell them apart. (Though I also left the tag on the one for Dad, just to make sure.)
Henry John gave a big hug to Teddy – the teddy bear that Dad had played with as a kid. I think Teddy told Henry John a few secrets about games he and Dad loved to play, so Henry John would have more fun with Dad.
Henry John, along with his fishing pole (‘cuz Dad loved to fish) is now keeping Dad company. Henry Joe is home with me. Anything that Henry Joe and I do together, I think Henry John and Dad will be doing, too.
All the pictures of the Henrys playing together are in my Flickr set: The Henrys.