Though she's a grown woman now, our younger daughter hates to fly. So when she's on her way home -- as she is this morning; I'll leave on the 9:40 ferry to pick her up at the airport -- I somehow always picture her as she is here, all smiles and soft cheeks, with Bear-Bear (her constant companion since she was 3 months old) in her arms. Which he will be, on the plane: though he is a dark and shabby shadow of his former white plush self, Bear-Bear is still a vital member of our family; still bringing comfort and joy wherever he goes.
It's funny. When you don't have kids, or you're thinking of having kids, diapers seem to be such a dealbreaker; so overwhelming. But when you do have children you realize each stage brings new, more difficult challenges. With time, it becomes harder and harder, as Bear-Bear grows shabbier and shabbier -- for him (or us) to fix anything. But the comfort he brings is still there. I suppose, as parents, that's all we can offer or hope for.