There was the time I was on a British Airways flight and my mother made the mistake of leafing through the in-flight duty free magazine in which I spotted, perhaps the best bear ever, brown and wholesome looking, complete with navy blue pilot hat and jacket. I instantly (calmly) explained I wanted the bear. I was told no - I imagine it was frightfully expensive. So I did what any other small child in my position could do and proceeded to scream blue murder, on the plane, until my request was granted.
The bear was lovely. It is highly probable the other passengers on the plane banded together to afford him.
Once at a Sea Life Centre with my parents I had a couple of tries on an arcade machine to try and win a cuddly sea based toy. The type with the large metal mechanical hand that moves down, grabs a toy, and drops it in front of you. I, of course failed, and we walked off. Moments later a young couple approached the machine, popped in a pound, had a go and a very cute, very small, grey Seal was dropped before them. This was unsatisfactory to me - exceedingly unfair in my eyes - and so I did what any other child in my position would do - and screamed blue murder and cried and wailed. My Mother must have been absolutely mortified.
In sympathy, the young couple came over and handed the little grey Seal to me. The kindness of strangers! And I have never forgotten them.
I learnt from an early age if I cried long enough with my mum the answer could always be changed to a yes (this still applies). My Father was quite the opposite - and thank goodness he was because a child needs balance.
One day he took me to the supermarket, politely warning me, as he always did, "Look but don't touch" all the way around the aisles. When we got to the checkout I saw that the sales team had cleverly placed a gang of big fluffy white bears right at the pay point. I knew if I had been with my mum they would all be mine. But I was with my dad - who came from a place of 'No'.
For some reason, that I am still completely unaware of he said yes! And I got my white fluffy bear. I couldn't believe it - and I treasured that bear more than any of my others because my Father, who left all toy purchases up to my Mother - had bought it for me.
One day my Primary School had a 'Teddy Bear's Picnic' where we were encouraged to bring in our cuddly toys and we could win a prize if we entered our bears into their competition categories. A brilliant idea! They had biggest bear, smallest bear, cutest bear, strangest bear and other superlatives. I had a plethora of bears but I was pretty sure I wasn't going to win anything. My dad suggested I take in his cuddly toy and enter it into the 'Oldest Bear' category.
Imagine if you drew a dog, side on, two dimensionally, very badly - that was what his toy looked like. It was made out of sand bag material, very hard, and had a slightly disconnected marble eyeball staring out of one side. It was obviously very old - and very special to him. And I won - we won - 'Oldest Bear'... One of the best days of my life!
Now I have a son and he has a few cuddly toys already. I wonder what bears will become important to him in his childhood. I wonder, when I buy a cuddly toy for him, what memories I am making for his later life; What toys he will one day scream for - and whether my partner and I will give him what he wants or stick to our guns. I wonder as a parent if I will come from a place of no or yes. I wonder if one day he will play with my Father's oldest bear - and what my son will one day hand down to his children. My British Airways bear, my white fluffy bear and my little grey Seal are long gone - but the memories are still here and I wonder what memories will we create together, with our little soft stuffed souled friends - as a family.