I like to think that I was your average, run-of-the-mill, non-competitive mother. Then George W. Bush came for the weekend and all common sense went right out the window.
George (I feel I can call him George after our weekend together) is the well traveled mascot of my son’s kindergarten class. He travels home with each student in turn.
The problem. This wouldn’t be much pressure in and of itself except for one little problem: George Bush Bear tells tales.
This uninvited bear about town comes complete with his own journal wherein “George” is expected to record all the fun things he does while visiting each child.
Like so many wanna-be journalists, George relies heavily on ghostwriters (mainly mommies) to deliver the goods. Worse yet, his journal will then be read aloud in class.
Woe to the child for whom George would report: “I loitered about under the bed with some of the dust bunnies my mother warned me about.”
Or, perhaps, “Matthew’s mother lumbering around the house on Saturday afternoon in her bathrobe was certainly entertaining!”
George is a better bear than that. Initially, I thought the entire adventure delightful. Bless the inspired teacher who concocted such a winning way to get to know her class better.
A great idea. Why, we will make cookies with George! That would be mighty impressive in the journal come Monday morning! The teacher could see what a warm, cozy, and Donna Reed-ish household we run around here.
Why, this Bear could be my ticket to extra gold stars in whatever ledger teachers keep where the “good” families are separated from the obvious troublemakers who forget snack day and have children who are going to grow up to become the featured parties on America’s Most Wanted.
Oh sweet, naive me. One quick leaf through George’s journal, detailing previous visits with other families, clued me to the fact that George was used to living large.
Busy bear. Judging from the entries (and accompanying digital photos pasted onto each page), George had jet skied, kayaked, enjoyed an authentic Mexican feast, golfed, gone to the symphony, and was rumored to have accompanied J-Lo to the Academy Awards.
Suddenly, my big plans for slice and bake cookies buying me any brownie points were fading fast. This bear would make Martha Stewart sweat.
Confident that my child’s entire social success among his peers was dependent upon the Bear’s journalistic account of our life come Monday, I was determined to show the bear a good time.
Quite a weekend. So by George, or George W. Bush Bear to be exact, we promptly hosted a Friday night sleep over. This was followed by a big pancake breakfast in the morning, a nature walk, and various fun family lawn games.
We drove 45 minutes to visit grandpa just so George could be photographed astride an antique tractor. And later, George accompanied us to an out-of-town dinner party, viewed a bevy of hot air balloons, took in a sporting event, and enjoyed brownie sundaes (I’m sure the chocolate will wash off – maybe).
More importantly, I can assure you that everywhere we went George was dutifully buckled into a car seat. Leaving me confident in saying that I was probably the only 34-year-old woman you know wheeling around town with a socially demanding stuffed bear in tow.
Dear journal… Exhausted, late Sunday night found me reporting George’s adventure in his journal. Pasting my own digital images “George on the farm!” and “George enjoys a brownie sundae!” onto the page, it was abundantly clear that for an entire 48-hour period, I had completely lost my mind.
Better yet, questioning Matthew on the impact George’s fun and fabulous adventures with the Seabolt family had on his peers, his wholly inadequate response was to shrug and state dismissively, “Oh, I don’t remember mom.”
And isn’t that just how it goes? You struggle to give a bear, er, a kid, the best of everything and that’s the thanks you get!
Fun time had by bear. Fortunately what really matters is that the bear had a good time right? I’d like to think so. I know I did. As guests go he was a pretty good influence on us all. That bear really knows how to live.
(Kymberly Foster Seabolt notes that some of her best friends have been stuffed bears. She welcomes comments c/o firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460.)