Blue Bear –A Sentimental Post


November 9, 2012 by Katia

Blue Bear

This is Blue Bear. I’ve mentioned him before. It would be impossible to talk about 3 year old without mentioning Blue Bear. Blue Bear is the name of this, my son’s best friend. When we ask 3 year old who his favorite people are he says 12 week old, mama, daddy and Blue Bear. Blue Bear is the teddy bear’s name.  Not blue. 3 year old will correct you if you call this guy  Blue instead of Blue Bear. It’s also a friend, or a big brother – I haven’t quite figured it out yet – not a favorite toy.

Blue Bear is from Israel. He flew to Canada, where I now live, with my mom as a gift to 3 year old from my mom’s aunt, who is also my auntie. She is not really my aunt, but I’ve always called her that, ever since I can remember and I am not exactly sure why.


This is my aunt. An ageless lady who is the embodiment of human kindness and optimism. But that makes her sound a little idealized, saintly and therefore boring. Not like the woman who gets so passionate in a debate about politics or the current state of the theatrical art that she’ll raise her voice at you while calling you ‘my darling!’ and verbally rip your head off if you happen to possess the wrong opinions about Benjamin Netanyahu or Chekhov. My auntie is a drama professor in one of Israel’s leading schools for the performing arts and she was teaching up until recently at the age of 88. She is also the subject of this photo I took a few years ago which entered a contest, and was featured in an exhibition bearing the name ‘Love Objects’ if I am not mistaken. My auntie was on her way to the exhibit, when she fell on the bus and broke her hip. She is not hospital material and throwing around a red ball in group physiotherapy is not really her thing, so she recovered very quickly from this fall and continued teaching.

More about my auntie: She moved to Israel from Russia as a mature person and was able to learn a new language from scratch but she made the language her own, as they would say on American Idol. She unmistakably uses the wrong gender for people and often for nouns and coined a few expressions that are impossible to translate. She uses adjectives one would normally use to describe people for objects. I think she believes that everything has a soul, even vegetables and inanimate objects. That is why her apartment is full of lamp shades, little woven stools and baskets she rescued off the streets. Needless to say she also rescued two black cats. My auntie finds joy in everything and is just as good spreading it around her and I think she planted a seed of joy in Blue Bear before it was passed on to 3 year old. Or maybe it wasn’t just joy but something even bigger something that is uniquely her. How else would you explain my son treating an inanimate object, Blue Bear, as the most important family member, often calling out ”Blue Bear, I’m back!” or “Blue Bear, where are you? I missed you!” when he comes home from school. Blue Bear is such a humanized character that I always feel slightly uncomfortable telling 3 year old that Blue Bear is in the washing machine so I come up with excuses for his absence, because imagine how you would feel if someone told you your brother was in the washer when you asked for their whereabouts.

3 months ago when I had 12 week old my mom flew in again to help me out.  With her she brought a promise from my auntie that she found a brown bear for 12 week old. A brown bear, said my auntie, that she believes will become to D what Blue Bear is to B. Before she carried out that plan my auntie broke her hip again and has been in the hospital for the last two months. Away from her cats and her profession my auntie is sometimes lost. But while her mind plays some tricks on her I think it’s her spirit that brings her back to her own self serving as a stronger reminder on who she really is than the occasionally confused mind.

The other day I was talking to her on a long distance call to the hospital. ‘I heard you are writing’, her voice sounded rushed and intense. ‘It’s very important’, she continued, ‘write, write, write’! I promised her I would do just that. This one is for you, auntie, straight from my funny little purple computer.


9 thoughts on “Blue Bear –A Sentimental Post

  1. Vanessa says:

    My god you are talented.

  2. Marta says:

    So sweet. I hope that Brown Bear does become as important of a fixture in the family as Blue Bear!

  3. maggieshebl says:

    What a sensible person you are my dear, I loved reading it.

  4. […] the books were placed so high you couldn’t even reach them without an adventurous spirit like my auntie’s and standing on a ladder. In the 70′s when my family was immigrating you had to apply for a […]

  5. […] me call his name, so immersed he is in his mission to make it through the dark corridor with Blue Bear tucked under his arm for protection from zombies and ghosts. I watch him and I’m feeling so […]

  6. […] I think you would be happy to know that I am sad but not devastated. You used a lot of proverbs unapologetically, never worrying that they may sound cliche. I will do the same. I am sad but not devastated. The part of my soul which is you is still there. Yes, that soul is a little bit more exposed right now, but it will look ever more intently for affirmations of you. And it will find them in Ben’s intense facial expression and passionate stories. In cats and certain words like “dramaturge”. In stray furniture and blue bear. […]

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What makes a happy new year? 
This is my story, but I suspect, it might also be yours. 
Lately I haven't been writing much. Forget writing, I can't even produce an entertaining Facebook update. Why? Because selecting the right words requires an effort and I don't have any effs (for effort) left to give. First I stopped posting to my blog, then my blog's Facebook page and eventually my own Facebook profile. I'm making an effort but I find it draining. Who knew that posting funny updates on your profile is not so easy? 
Nothing dramatic is going on in my life. Work's been extra busy with some newly added responsibilities and stress, bedtimes are still long-ish and my sleep is still often interrupted, but it's not nearly as often as before. My "me time" is limited and starts late. The emotional energy I invest in my work, the nature of my sleep and the limited time I spend on myself leave me with little energy to spare. Any energy I have left and then some is invested in my kids.

My kids, whom you all know I adore and admire, are daring, often reckless and very young and inexperienced. Sometimes I'm surprised at the extent of their lack of caution and I'm always, always disproportionately worried. I know that because I'm unlike the other mothers around me. I come from a family of worriers and anxious people. My neural pathways always lead me to a dead end - literally. I catastrophize and imagine the worst outcome. For years I've been able to rationalize and talk myself out of useless, time consuming and energy wasting internal struggles with often imagined worrisome scenarios, but now that words are burdensome and my energy is dwindled, I can't. 
I'm entering this new year happier and more optimistic than I've been in awhile. Yesterday I went to see my doctor. After a lot of internal turmoil and thoughts about cancelling my appointment I came in and blurted out: I think I'm suffering from some form of anxiety. His very calm and matter of fact-ish reaction ("like everyone else in the 21st century") wasn't dismissive, but reassuring. Self care sometimes means looking deeper. 
I wish everyone a happy new year of good mental health. It's the basis for everything.
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