Meet Baby Rosa. A few days before SweetPea was born, Maw Maw bought her. You can't see it in this picture, but "My First Bear" is embroidered on her tummy. I think Maw Maw thought SweetPea would take an instant liking to the soft, squishy pink bear, but I'll be honest, it wasn't love at first sight. For the first few years, Baby Rosa wasn't even Baby Rosa...she was just another in a long line of stuffed animals that sat in SweetPea's room. Out of the blue, SweetPea started playing with the pink bear. Then, she started carrying her around the house and bringing her to bed every night. Then, she decided the bear was going to be called Baby Rosa, since, of course, she was pink and she'd learned from Dora the Explorer that "rosa" was Spanish for pink (her most favorite color, by the way). Next thing I know, Baby Rosa is going with us just about everywhere...to the grocery store, in the car and...to school. Here's where our story really starts.
The first time Baby Rosa went to school with SweetPea, she was in Jr Pre-K and only going to school two half days per week. I made sure to either put Baby Rosa in SweetPea's cubby as soon as we got to her classroom or insist that she give the bear to the teacher to put in the cubby once I left. Our system worked and I always made sure when I picked her up after lunch time that we didn't leave Baby Rosa behind. When I went back to work and SweetPea entered private kindergarten at the same school, I assumed it would be safe for Baby Rosa. What I didn't take into account was the fact that SweetPea would be there all day and that it gave her more opportunity to misplace Baby Rosa...which is exactly what happened. Daddy arrived to pick SweetPea up and Baby Rosa was nowhere to be found. The two of them searched and still...no Baby Rosa. Eventually we had to leave empty handed. I wasn't prepared for how hard she'd take it.
On the ride home, SweetPea whined a little about finding Baby Rosa, but wasn't all out upset because none of us could remember whether she'd actually even brought Baby Rosa to school (she doesn't always). That left open the possibility that we still might find her at home. We didn't. In the frenzy that goes on when we get home from school/work at night, the idea that Baby Rosa might be gone for good didn't really sink in for SweetPea. That didn't happen until bedtime. I was tucking her in, like I always do, when SweetPea started crying "I lost Baby Rosa". I was prepared for the tears...but I wasn't prepared for the absolutely heart wrenching tears of true loss. I'm talking the cries of sorrow that come from the realization that you've lost someone near and dear...like a loved pet or family member. Yes, I'm talking about that kind of heartbreak. It broke my heart to hear it. All I could do was tell her that she and her Daddy could search the second floor at school the next day and hope that someone had found Baby Rosa and put her somewhere safe. That night, I got to hear my poor little girl cry herself to sleep.
Luckily...the story has a happy ending. The next morning, Baby Rosa was found sitting on the edge of the lunch room table. These days, Baby Rosa spends less time at school. Most days, she gets to sit in the car and keep Daddy company on his ride to work and guards the car until it's time to pick the kids up from school in the evenings. If she does go to school, then Baby Rosa almost immediately gets put in SweetPea's locker in the kindergarten room. It was a hard lesson, but one I doubt will be forgotten anytime soon.