My college-age daughter lived with my sister for the Summer and had a great time, but there was one near casualty. Alfred, the (stuffed) bear, was “loved on” by Max the (real) dog. To be honest, Alfred was already well-loved, but by the time Max added his dose of love, Alfred’s arm was hanging by a thread and one ear was nowhere to be found.

At the end of the Summer, I had the privilege of adding my own dose of love to Alfred. A little added stuffing, several stitches, and a new ear later…

Your eyesight isn’t deceiving you. The ear doesn’t exactly match, but it adds character, doesn’t it? Plus, both my girls (and me) are Winnie-the-Pooh fans, and Alfred’s new ear reminds us of Pooh Bear…so much that my youngest daughter renamed Alfred (to Poohfred). However, her sister refuses to accept the name change.

We have a history of well-loved stuffed animals.

  • Pooh appears in a long series of family photos.
  • The entire collection of Christopher Robin and all his friends often transformed our play room into the Hundred Acre Wood.
  • Roo was rescued from a wall under construction before we moved to our current home – with a cake tester taped to a broom handle.
  • A menagerie of animals often accompanied us on walks in wagons and strollers.
  • Smiley Bear – and an entire collection of black bears – tell stories of many trips.
  • GiddyUp the horse (from my childhood) is still ridiculed for his deformed legs (it’s just that I loved him so much!).
  • Donko (from my husband’s childhood) endured neck surgery and a restuffing by Grandma Lucy – at a daughter’s request – while Tim and I were on vacation.
  • I continue to pack my special polar bear, Polar Pop, on many of my travels.

One of my personal favorites was a Raggedy Ann I received when I was four years old. One of my mom’s best friends made it for me. Raggedy Ann was my parenting practice model. I trimmed her hair (before I realized it wouldn’t grow back), applied medicine and bandages when there were boo-boos, and traced her fabric heart in blue ink. At some point, I realized all my love was wearing her out, so I mercifully set her on a shelf.

When I graduated from high school, I opened a large box from the same friend. In it was a “grown up Raggedy Ann for a grown up Susie.” It was one of the most touching gifts I ever received. And the grown up Raggedy Ann rode home from college my freshmen year safely buckled into the car seat beside me.

When I – and my daughters – have loved stuffed animals well, they’ve often looked a bit disheveled. But we loved them no less. Their well-loved appearance often prompted us to love them even more!

I’m so thankful God loves me well. And his love doesn’t wear me out. The world around me might wear on me, but God still embraces me, patches my well-loved areas and repairs my torn off pieces!

He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds. Psalm 147:3

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