Today marks one of the saddest days of my entire life. To some, this will seem silly and trivial, but to all the Daddys with little girls that they love... it'll make total sense.
My daughter's lifelong companion, Rainbow Bear (seen here clutched under Katie's arm on her recent birthday) has been lost. Rainbow Bear has been at my daughter's side since she was born and has never left her side for more than a school day. I honestly do not think that Katie has ever slept a night without him/ her/ it- at least none that I am aware of. This bear was nearly lost during last summer's trip to Italy, but he made it all the way there and back, against totally improbable odds. Rainbow Bear has been left in many places where he/ she/ it should have been gone forever, but somehow made it back... each and every time, until today.
Rainbow has made a number of appearances here on the blog. Many Daily Drive photos have Rainbow clutched under his/ her best friend's arm. Never far away from her.
Rainbow traveled all over the place with Katie, even making several bike trips with her and Daddy. Here he/ she/ it is on our most recent spin around the harbor- as always, tucked under an arm and pressed close against his/ her ever-loving friend.
Several months ago, Rainbow was left behind in my car and I dutifully made sure that I took good care of him/ her/ it and buckled him/ her/ it into Katie's booster seat... to be safe.
Now, after 6 years of totally faithful and loving companionship, Rainbow Bear is gone. We went grocery shopping this afternoon and Rainbow Bear, as always was in the cart with Katie. At the checkout, Katie wanted out of the cart and was helped out of the cart by Daddy. Rainbow Bear sat patiently, waiting to rejoin her. At the other end of the belt, the bagger was loading a different cart with the groceries, while Katie skipped and frolicked and sang songs to Daddy as the groceries were loaded into the different cart. We grabbed the full cart and headed to the car to go home. Once home, Katie ate her dinner and then headed off to bed... looking for her ever-faithful friend Rainbow Bear, who was now nowhere to be seen. Upon realizing what had happened, I left Katie at home with my wife and sped off back to the grocery store for the inevitable frantic search for Rainbow Bear. I searched every cart in the store, outside of the store, around the store and spoke to the manager and the original checker and bagger we checked out with... to no avail. Of course, I left my phone number and asked them to call if a white-ish bear showed up somewhere in the store... ever... and left the store with the biggest knot in my stomach and watering eyes. Tomorrow morning, when my daughter awakes and comes out to the kitchen where I'll be making her school lunch, she will be expecting Daddy to hand her Rainbow Bear.
And Daddy will look into those sad brown eyes and have to say that Rainbow Bear is gone. Probably even gone forever. To those brown eyes. Mind you, this child, the Princess, has countless stuffed animals. Tons of them. But nothing has ever replaced Rainbow Bear for more than a few hours. Never. In her whole life. I know that I'm making way too much out of a stuffed animal that my daughter will eventually forget all about. But as a Daddy, I am not ashamed to say that my eyes water at the thought of it and that the realization that Rainbow Bear is gone makes me far sadder than I ever feared it would. I've lost sleep, literally, over the thought of her losing Rainbow Bear (the trip to Italy was fraught with peril for Rainbow Bear). Now, that nightmare is beginning to unfold.
How do you tell a six year old girl that her most loved possession in the world is gone? This Daddy is a big softy, a total pushover and an emotional wreck at the moment. Today is one of the saddest days of my life because of the loss of a hospital waiting room gift shop stuffed animal given to my daughter the day she was born. It's a sad day.