"Mama, wanna play with me? You wanna play with me?"
Her pleas sounded more like a demand than a request and I knew if I said 'no' she would keep asking, demanding and continue to look heartbroken and crestfallen.
Each day she follows me around with the same demand - I mean request - so I know the drill now and most days I'm thrilled she wants me to play with her. What an honor to be the main person she wants to play and interact with in this season of her life.
On this day she had dragged her stuffed animal entourage onto the front steps and sidewalk. She set them up in a circle and sat in the middle of them and instructed me to do the same. Then I was directed to "'tend you Mama bear," which is the stuffed white Christmas themed bear that was given to me by my husband.
I pretended I was Mama Bear and asked the other animals how they were and Little Miss about her day.
I hugged the fluffy white Christmas bear against me and buried my face in its' white fur.
Sitting there on the sidewalk in front of our house I felt nostalgic thinking about how my daughter was doing what I had once done.
As a child I would drag all my stuffed animals outside in our side yard in the country and set them up on a blanket and cuddle with them and care for them by covering them with blankets.
Even in our youth we women seem to have that mother instinct already ingrained in us it seems. We cradle and rock babies and whisper to them it's all going to be okay even if we aren't sure what okay means.
"What are you doing?" a small, slightly indignant voice brought me from rural memories back to the reality of the concrete surface of town life.
"I'm hugging the bears," I answered, sure she would agree with my reason. "They need a hug right?"
Her expression was a mix of disgust and pity.
"Mama, they don't need hugs," she said and I swear I saw her tiny toddler eyes roll up just like a teenager. "They're just toys."
And just like that she burst my sentimental bubble of imagination and shattered it in a million pieces on the ground with her cruel dose of reality.
Then I hugged the fluffy white bear and sniffled a little in its' fluffy fur.
That's okay. Someday she'd be old enough to understand that stuffed animals need hugs too.