Since the birth of the twin panda babies at the Atlanta Zoo in July I’ve been a daily fan of the panda cam. I’ve watched them grow from 4 ounces, 4.5 inches long to eleven and half pound butter balls. Until this past week they’ve divided their time between an incubator and their mother as the zoo keepers swap them out every few hours and sublimate their diet with a bottled milk. The mother panda has never had them both at one time until this week. She's been such an affectionate mother with her cubs. She carries them around in her mouth like cats do their kittens and you’d swear she’s smiling when they nurse. She cuddles with them even when they aren’t nursing, she bathes them and the babies often look like they're sucking their paws/thumbs. It’s been such a sweet and angelic story to follow from the hairless and ugly little creatures they were at birth to the beautiful, fur-balls they are now. Now that they are spending more time together they attempt to play even though their walking is wobbly and they’re not in control of where they’re trying to go. The twins are too cut for words.
I had just gotten into making teddy bears before my husband’s stroke. I still have a stash of exotic fake furs and bear joints in the basement because I never gave up the dream of making artisan bears with personalities. And I have a collection of teeny, handmade and signed bears that measure under three inches tall. I love the micro-mini bears the best. The smallest I’ve ever achieved is five inches tall and he looks like a bulky ox next to my treasured, tiny favorites. The panda twins have gotten me thinking about making bears again. I wish I could find a good panda pattern. It’s been so long since I’ve tried alternating patterns that I’m not sure I can do it anymore. The only panda bear pattern I’ve found they want $17.50 for a downloaded pattern and the reviews say there are no instructions or how-to photos to go with it. I can’t believe that! I used to be able to exchange them free with other bear makers or buy them for next to nothing. So far, I’m not willing to pay $17.50 for a piece of paper to come out of my printer. But I may weaken and buy myself a Christmas present.
Being a widow and no longer being a caregiver to a severely disabled husband sure freed up a lot of time in my life. This point has really been brought home to me as I work on the book I’m writing for the National Novel Writers Month. As I read over the seven years’ worth of journal entries I made as a caregiver/spouse I can’t believe the range of emotions I recorded. So many things I wrote about I’d forgotten about doing. Studying those journals has made me laugh and cry and both be ashamed and proud of myself for how I handled life during those difficult years. I believe in this book because I believe that I can help others by sharing the raw emotions of what a couple goes through as they search for acceptance and a new normal after such a life-altering medical crisis. I will get the rough draft done on the book by the end of the contest, I just hope I don’t lose my mojo for getting the draft turned into a “final product.” And maybe that’s why it’s a good thing that the panda bear pattern I lust after costs so much---if I don't buy it, it can't distract me from my do-good book project.
But the worry-wart in me keeps wondering if I'll ever be able to do everything I've put off doing while I was busy living a different existence---paint again, make bears again, keep writing and be totally happy again. Now that I have the time but not the husband to share my joy in doing these things, do these goals from past years still ring true? Or maybe that's the way it's suppose to be. Maybe we're supposed to keep on wishing and hoping and dreaming about that next project just over the horizon until the day we die. Even if that next "project" is just trying to figure out how to steal the jello off our future roommate's dinner tray at the nursing home. Without wishes and hopes and dreams would we ever accomplish anything? I don't think I want to slow down long enough to find out. ©
|The bear pattern I lust after.|
|One of my micro-mini artisan babies.|