Wednesday, 10 October 2012

The Brave Little Toy Who Keeps My Monsters Away

Forty years ago I found Snuggles.  Or maybe he found me.  I can never be sure.  But as a toddler I discovered him hiding in a bin behind the church hall that my mum used to clean.  He was furless (I'm still unsure whether he ever had fur or if it had been 'loved' away by a previous owner), a bit threadbare in parts and lacking a bit of stuffing.  But something about his twinkling orange eyes, his cute stitched nose and his friendly expression made me fall in love with him.  Snuggles had clearly had some adventures before he met me.  He had a past that I could only dream about.  I imagined him fighting monsters, keeping his previous owner safe and sustaining a few battle wounds as he bravely took on the creatures that lurk under beds when it is dark.  So I knew he'd keep me safe.  Snuggles was my protector.  My comfort.

teddy bear, monsters under the bed
Snuggles: My Brave Little Toy

Over the years, my scruffy little teddy continued to be my constant companion.  My older sister used to threaten to take him away and return him to the dustbin from which he came, telling me he was stuffed with maggots.  But Snuggles did not falter.  He stood proud and strong refusing to be upset by a mean girl.  After all, he could take on monsters.  He spent the nights fending off the creatures that hid under my bed in the dead of night.  He kept me safe and sound...even from older siblings.

Snuggles never left me.  Even when the thin material on his tummy split open, he handled it bravely!  My mum sewed a patch onto him.  She drew on an "S" for Snuggles...but I thought it was like the Superman logo.  Perfectly fitting for my Superhero teddy bear who had been my constant companion throughout my childhood.

Even as a teenager he was there.  When times were bleak, he offered me a hug.  When my own personal demons threatened to bring me down he fought them off as fiercely as he had fought off the ghosties and ghoulies of my childhood nightmares. There was something special about Snuggles.  He was worn and shabby but still held such charm and had a hold on my heart.  He had history.  He had a story that was told through his worn patches, his loose stitches and his frayed ears.  He had been through so much, yet he still stood strong with his twinkling eyes and his friendly face, undeterred by his past.  He is an inspirational little teddy.

Other toys have come and gone over the years.  Character toys from fads and crazes, latest trends and seasonal must-haves found their way into my collection.  However, Snuggles was my constant.  The one I would never be parted from.  He may not have been the best looking, or the one with special features or the toy that others coveted...but he was special.  He was mine.  We belonged together.  So when other toys found themselves donated to the local jumble sale, Snuggles stayed with me.

Even when I became a mum myself, Snuggles was still there.  He may not have been as glitzy, shiny and high tech as the modern toys that my children were given as gifts.  He wasn't new like them, he was old and tired yet still so full of character.  He continued to be a part of our family, living in their toybox in the bedroom.  Forever watching. Ready and waiting to slay any monsters that threatened to infiltrate their peaceful dreams.  Forever protecting them, as he had protected me.

teddy bear, cuddle
Still Loved and Cherished

Now he is very old and very fragile.  He is so grubby but would never survive the wash.  His stuffing shows through where the fabric is now so thin. Yet he is still our family guardian.  Sat in his vantage point on a shelf he can keep his brave old eyes on us all.  His indomitable spirit has kept me safe and comforted for four decades, giving me strength and inspiration when I needed it most.  He comes down for cuddles so we can remind him just how loved and cherished he still is.

Snuggles has kept my life monster-free since 1973 when we first found each other.  Snuggles has kept our dreams sweet and let us sleep peacefully knowing that our brave Snuggles has been there for us.  Forever watching.  Keeping the monsters away.


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