Folks who know me well, know that I'm not a big fan of babies. Whatever that gene is that gets folks crooning over itty bitty newborns--- I don't have it. I'm actually quite terrified of tiny babies. They so small and fragile and prone to vomiting.... but the great thing about babies is that they don't stay that way for long! Within the blink of the eye you no longer have an infant anymore and you suddenly have a toddler! And toddlers are, hands down, the best thing ever!
When Viola was about three, she finally started to grasp the idea of Christmas, which was pretty exciting for me as I had grand plans for a grand Christmas tree stuffed with presents for us --- I mean, for her to play with. The company I worked for, situated in the heart of downtown Detroit, always had a Santa in the lobby starting in about the middle of November. One night after work I took her down to see Santa; as we waited in line I tried to coach Viola on how this whole wish-list thing worked. "You can ask for anything you want!" I explained, "A puppy! A bicycle! A helium floating shark!"
Much to my surprise, when she climbed onto Santa's lap what she asked for was..... a teddy bear. It was kind of a let down, really. I mean, she had teddy bears already --- lots of them. What I really wanted... I mean, what she really wanted was a puppy!
After that visit, I'd explained that she didn't have to stick to her request for a teddy bear. When she wrote her letter to Santa she could change her mind and ask for something else (like a puppy!) But she was resolute--- she wanted a teddy bear. Period. Every opportunity she had to see a Santa it was the same thing, "Pleeeeeeeeaaase, bring me a teddy bear?"
About a week later, we made our first (impromptu) trip to Walt Disney World, where we met Duffy the Disney Bear for the first time. Clearly, it was fate. What Viola had wished for most of all was a very special teddy bear, and what could get more special than Mickey's own BFF?
But since the teddy bear was meant to come from Santa, we had to get through our trip without buying one... which was easier said than done as there were stacks of Duffy bears in literally every single souvenir store and this kid really wanted a teddy bear. When she gets to batting her eyelashes and pouting her pouty lips it's very hard to say no, trust me. Viola was beginning to understand numbers, but fortunately for me she didn't yet understand decimal points. I told her that the Duffy Bears were $3,000.00! and that there was no way mommy could possibly afford such a special but expensive teddy bear. She would just have to be very good and hope that Santa brought one for her for Christmas.
Which, of course, she was. And which, of course, he did.
Duffy has been her constant companion ever since, joining us on most trips and adventures. For the past three years we've had a great time building our Teddy Bear photo album of all the places we've seen together. She even has a "little Duffy" (keychain bear) hooked to her backpack whom accompanies her to school every day. And in 2013 the Duffy Bear tradition passed on to little sister Evangeline. So, in retrospect her seemingly simple Christmas wish was probably the best one ever.... and we got a puppy, too! :-)