August 29, 2001

Beginning of the Road

By Dane Sorensen


Huggie Bear has gone to college, along with our oldest daughter. Last Tuesday we drove Huggie Bear down to the University of Wisconsin/Superior in two very full cars. After eighteen years of having daily control and direction over our daughter she is now off on her own. It is amazing how much we invest in our children in time, money and love. It is hard to let go and yet let go we must. Just as we left our parents on a sojourn of life so must we let our children go.

Our daughter has had Huggie Bear ever since she was a babe. Before walking and before talking that little ball of fluff became her favorite toy. It has comforted her when she had the chicken pox. It was there to wipe her tears when life was not what it should be. It stayed with her in her two week hospital stay when she was only ten years old. Huggie has outlasted most of her childhood toys and childhood fancies. Long gone are the Barbie Dolls, the trolls, the My Little Ponies and the Cyber pets.

It is interesting how some things in life are anchors to our being. I think Huggie Bear represents to me the inner child and innocence that I saw in my daughter's eyes for all of her childhood. I am proud she still has much of this quality. I think that is what attracted her to music. Music is something that always pleases. It is a universal tonic for uniting people.

Huggie Bear has quietly watched our daughter grow up and during that time we have watched Huggie Bear grow bare and drab. It has been many years since it was furry. It is only through the constant use of needle and thread that Huggie Bear still has a tail, for when our daughter was a babe she got into the habit of sucking on the poor bear's tail. After that stage, she got into the habit of holding little Huggie by the tail.

By First Grade as Huggie Bear became thread bare it sprang leaks in its poor little body. As the family handy man it was my duty to fix these little holes. I enjoyed seeing my daughter's smile whenever I gave her back a repaired Huggie.

One would think that in the later years the need for Doctor Daddy would become unneeded as Huggie became less a play thing and more of a favored decoration on her bed. However, poor Huggie was to have one great and perilous adventure. This summer my daughter house sat for some fellow musicians who had two very large Great Dane dogs. I mean these were BIG dogs. If you were sitting down and the dogs came up to you their heads would be level with your own. Huggie had his normal spot lying on the bed. One of my daughter's charges found Huggie and decided to play with it. Play meant shaking Huggie to pieces. At least 15 different pieces. Stuffing was all over and Huggie's thin netted hide in three or four pieces. Doctor Dad was called to perform surgery once again.

Poor Huggie, so many pieces and not much to go on. He ended up needing a skin graft where one of his paws was. Another small graft was needed on the tummy. The hide of poor Huggie was torn at the seams and where seams did not exist. It took me over three hours of surgery to sew our smallest family member back together.

Not since our daughter carelessly threw Huggie out of her stroller when she was two and we actually searched yard by yard for him (complete with lost bear flyers), did he have such a close shave. Yet through all these pearls Huggie has made it to college, just as our daughter has. I guess I am proud of both of them and we will miss both our daughter and her thread bare little friend.

Our nest is only partly empty this year. We still have our two other daughters and they in turn have Mr. Bun and Ted. Their lives have had their ups and downs. They, and their childhood friends are waiting for their turn to go to college. It is then that I will need some repairs. I thank my children for the richness they have brought to our home. And I thank their little friends as well.


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