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Me and the boys: A love story

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05.09.2021

My daughter, M.E., didn’t play with dolls much. Most Barbies never even made it out of the box. An American Girl Doll, for which I paid a small fortune to have customized to allegedly look like M.E., spent most of her days on a shelf collecting dust.

M.E. was a lover of stuffed animals, or as we called them, “The Boys.” Over the course of her childhood, she collected well over 200: bears, cats, dogs and more. (She is my only child. Yes, I indulged her.)

As is common with kids and stuffed animals, there was one favorite above all others: Big Bear. He was a baby shower gift from a colleague and it was clear very early on that he and M.E. were destined to be lifelong friends. Big Bear went everywhere — to the park, the zoo, trips to grandma’s, even down the aisle when M.E. was a flower girl in her cousin’s bridal party. Later, he went off to college, and spent a semester traveling Europe, before semi-retiring on M.E.’s bed in her apartment, looking “well-loved” after his many years of adventures.

Because of her rich, childhood imagination, every one of M.E.’s boys had a name, a backstory, a distinct personality and voice. Most........

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