I sleep with a Teddy Bear I’ve had since I was six years old. Yes, I said sleep with it. The bear is ragged, permanently stained, and missing fur in certain parts. But still, I love her, and I can’t get a good night’s sleep in my bed without having her tucked against me just so.

Maddie always wanted to cuddle the bear. I was always quick to hand her one of her own toys. I wanted her to have something that brought her comfort the way my bear brings me. And honestly, I didn’t want to share my teddy bear.

I look back now and I feel like such a terrible person. My little girl just wanted to cuddle something that her mommy obviously loved. I wouldn’t let her. Because I DIDN’T WANT TO SHARE A STUFFED ANIMAL. What a horrible mom. Thinking about it makes me sick to my stomach.

A couple weeks ago, Annie was awake in the middle of the night thanks to some major teething pains. She was impossible to soothe, which is to be expected when you’re popping through four teeth at once. After holding her and walking around the entire apartment, I laid her down in my bed so I could rest my arms for a second (girlfriend is heavy). I bent down to stretch my back, and when I stood upright I realized Annie wasn’t crying anymore.

Her eyes were closed, with her arms wrapped around my teddy bear.

Annie and my old bear, Theodora

I looked at her for a long time. Her little hands gripped my bear’s arm, her fingers rubbing a bald spot. She inhaled deeply and sighed, and I saw sleep take over her features. She slept with her mommy’s bear in her arms all night. Teething pain was a distant memory.

cuddling my bear

I wish I could go back in time and let Maddie hold my bear. I wish I knew why I was so selfish.

I wish Maddie was still here, so I could give her my bear as she slept.