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About a year ago, when I moved from New York to Florida, I had to make some difficult choices. Like what stayed. And what went.

Like my stone washed denim jean jacket from 1984. Obviously it came with us.

And my tea collection from the 90’s despite the fact that I don’t drink tea. (I tossed the tea in this elaborate ceremony replicating the Boston Tea Party.)

And there were the girls’ gigantic art sculptures.


Unbelievably they made the cut and now reside in Florida.

In the garage.

And then there were the Build A Bears. We had a small village of them. But no one ever played with them. So with a heavy, panicked heart, I donated them all, along with their Build A Bear closets and their snazzy bear sized outfits to Goodwill.

Pretty much since that moment, I’ve been dreading the day the girls notice the bears never showed up in Florida.

But nothing.

I mean, I wasn’t an idiot. When their Brownie/Daisy troops did an outing to Build A Bear, we didn’t attend. And I did everything I could to prevent any kind of mention of bears in our house which is obviously difficult because bears are rampant in children’s literature.

But somehow we made it through an entire year. Until this week when we were wandering through some mall (in an effort to escape the satan like temperatures outside) and we passed the BUILD A BEAR STORE.

Dylan: “Heyyyyyyyyyy….. what ever happened to all our Build A Bears?”

Me: —

Dylan: “Mom, where did our Build A Bears go? I loved all those bears. They were the best. I remember each one. I even had one that smelled like cookies. Mmmm..”

Me: —

Dylan: “Mom, can you hear me?”

At this point, I was frozen by the Annie’s Pretzel counter hoping that if I stayed very still, Dylan would think I was just a mannequin display. I knew I had 3 options.

1. Go with my original plan to tell my kids the bears got so liquored up at the Laguardia airport bar that Jet Blue wouldn’t let them get on the plane to Florida and we had to leave them at the airport.

2. Come clean and tell them I donated them to charity and face the reality that for the rest of their lives my children would blame me for carelessly discarding their precious bears leading to feelings of loss and abandonment that keeps them from experiencing true connections with other people.

3. Tell them the bears must have gotten lost in the move.

I think it’s really important to be honest with kids. I mean, how else do children learn honesty if we don’t lead by example?

Which is why I told them the moving truck must have lost the bears.

Because maybe the charity decided to give the bears to kids in Miami.

And maybe the bears were loaded on a truck on route to Florida.

And maybe the driver had had enough of this trucking gig and didn’t drive to Miami at all.

And maybe instead, he hightailed it to Nevada where he now lives with a lovely girl named Rita and 15 magnificently dressed Build A Bears.

I’m just saying it’s possible.


11 Responses to the mystery of the missing build a bears

  • Laurie says:

    Even at 30, my daughter seems to remember every toy, game, book, record/CD, poster and t-shirt she ever owned. She knows we are trying to “downsize” so makes it her mission when she comes home to see what we might have taken out of her room. Not that she wants to move any of it to her house. She just wants to know it still exists. It’s sweet that she’s sentimental about her childhood, but we are definitely at the “get over it” stage!

  • Slow Panic says:

    I’ve gotten caught a couple of times. They never want the zillion toys stored in the attic. They just want the ones I gave away. I mean that the movers lost (and no, we’ve never moved).

  • Alex says:

    I cannot even count the number of times I have tried to smuggle stuffed animals out of the house and down to the curb. My latest solution: give them to the dog. He shreds them in about half an hour. You end up with white stuffing all over the house but on the bright side you can claim the dog “somehow” got into the child’s room and absconded with the animal in question, unbeknownst to the adults in the house at the time. Then the child goes ape shit on the dog and, voila!, problem solved!

  • Princess Judy says:

    Now I have to question the “movers” that lost all our Fisher Price (the dangerous kind) house and barn when our parents moved from NM to OH. Maybe our parents thought they were doing us a favor. But, if so it backfired. Those were toys we played with all the time and made a huge fuss until they were replaced. And yes, we continued to play with them all the way through the next move and beyond (military family).

  • Bryn Boer says:

    I once tried having the kids be involved in weeding out their own toys. Stop laughing. I thought it would go better if they helped make the decisions and I was going to foster a lifelong pattern of helping others by having them donate the toys in good condition to children who don’t have as much as they do. As it turns out, toys they haven’t played with, mentioned, or thought about for the last 8 months are just like BRAND NEW TOYS and cannot be parted with. We’re going to be moving this fall and I’ve already started wondering just how many toys I can get away with donating or discarding behind their backs. Unfortunately, we’ll only be moving about 15 minutes away so we’ll be doing all the packing ourselves. I’m pretty sure my oldest is going to see through my “the movers must have lost that box” excuse.

  • NannySue says:

    My 26 year old son just moved across the country with his wife and baby, supposedly for two years. I am now in possession of a wedding dress, boxes of books, DVD’s, clothing and other assorted stuff they didn’t want to move but also don’t want to get rid of. There’s also enough lego for me to build my own Legoland, including a million piece (may be a slight exaggeration, no it’s not I’ve stepped on at least that many) Stars Wars vehicle called ??? (I have no idea!) that sits on the dresser in his old room. His words were “Mom, do you have any idea how long it took me to build that? So just leave it on my dresser”. For TWO years!! He still buys and puts together Lego, he says it’s his stress reliever, and I just can’t say no to storing his stuff. Though I want to, I really want to. And don’t get me started on my daughter’s Barbie collection that sits in her old room. I used to be so good at sneaking old and broken toys out when they were little…

  • Koryn Dimock says:

    Well, you could honestly tell them you honestly don’t know where they are. You haven’t tracked them since giving them away, so technically, it’s the truth…

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kelcey kintner