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     Volume 4 Issue 77 | December 30, 2005 |

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Straight Talk

My Hero is a Pink Bear

Nadia Kabir Barb

My Hero… is a pink cuddly bear. My husband is obviously a close contender (I hope that will appease him as it can't be easy accepting defeat from a slightly pink, somewhat scrawny little bear.) I am sure that by this stage you are thinking that I have finally lost touch with reality and am delusional. Before you refuse to read further and call the Daily Star to put me in a straight jacket let me introduce you to our furry friend. His name is "Pinky Bear Barb". He is a cuddly toy (though we don't refer to him as that any more), about eight inches tall and his fur has a slightly pinkish tint to it --- hence the very original name given to it by our youngest daughter who adopted it into our family approximately 5 years ago.

Still not sure where I am going with this? Have a little patience and I will try and explain. Well Pinky Bear is a well travelled bear as he not only lives with us but travels with us everywhere we go. In fact in the last few years he has become part of our family. Initially I used to get irritated at the fact that whenever we went shopping, my daughter would insist on looking for clothes or gifts for Pinky Bear. Threats of sending Pinky Bear on a trip with a one way ticket were issued but my daughter's attachment to him meant that the threats were never carried out. Soon we all became used to Pinky Bear being bought socks with my daughter's pocket money or sitting at the table with us during some meal times. I think he was even included in one of the pictures we took on the instant photograph machines at the airport a few years ago thereby cementing his status as a member of our family. But it is only in the last few days that I have truly learnt the value of my daughter's little friend.

A few days ago, my youngest daughter fell ill. It got to a stage where the wisest decision was to take her to hospital. As you can imagine, she was very reluctant but when we told her that Pinky Bear could come with us she capitulated. In the hospital, when the doctors were trying to put her on an intravenous drip they found it very hard to insert the needle as her veins were not clearly visible. The fact that there blood coming out of her tiny hand and that she was in a considerable amount of pain at this stage meant that I was no longer any use to man or beast as I was sobbing away hopelessly (to my shame) while my husband held her hand and spoke to her and tried to keep her as calm as possible, which I have to admit he did admirably. But it was really Pinky Bear who gets most of the credit as we told her that she should squeeze hard on his hand when it hurt and thankfully she did as she was told and closed her eyes and held both her Daddy's hand and Pinky Bear's so the doctors were able, with the help of our friend to put the needle in without further ado. During the few hours that we were at the hospital, she cuddled Pinky and slept a little and squeezed his hand when they need a blood sample and later told us that Pinky Bear always made her feel better. He knew just how to cheer her up.

It made me take stock of the role this rather worn little bear plays in her life. The fact that she has given this inanimate toy a character, personality, likes and dislikes is charming. Many people may find it silly or strange or who knows even disturbing but to me it shows me everyday that there are still some truly magical things left in this world. We lose our innocence so quickly these days that I am in no hurry to disprove the existence of Santa Claus or Fairies to my children. I love the fact that my youngest daughter's face lights up at the thought of Santa Claus finding her all the way in Bangladesh. Even on her way to the hospital she made sure that a glass of milk and a plate of cookies were going to be left for Santa if he happened to come by. I have no desire for my children to lose this kind of innocence and turn into precocious children who are world weary before they have even reached their teens. Even my eldest daughter who has known for a while about the true identity of the Tooth Fairy or Santa never utters a word of disparagement when my other two discuss whether they managed to stay awake to see Santa or the Tooth fairy. They say that every time someone stops believing in fairies, a fairy dies. I think it is really a way of saying that it is the end of your childhood when you start facing the harsh reality of growing up.

Even if Pinky Bear has been played a tiny part in teaching my youngest daughter to be considerate or kind, I think he has done a lot. The fact that her first concern is not for herself but for her bear makes me happy. We were given the gift of imagination and I have no problem with the fact that children can use tap into that wonderful place and for even a short time believe that the world is a better place than it really is. I wish we were all capable of looking at the world through the eyes of a child.

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