13: The Teddy Bear

13: The Teddy Bear

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles and More

The Teddy Bear

Sons are the anchors of a mother’s life.


I had saved several voicemail messages from my son on my cell phone. I don’t know why I never deleted them, but I was so glad that I hadn’t. I loved to play them from time to time so I could hear his voice.

I had often thought that I would like to go to Build-A-Bear and create a camouflage bear. I would dress him in boots, a beret, and a dog tag. I also wanted to copy the voicemail message that my son had left me on Mother’s Day 2009 and have it inserted into the bear, so I could squeeze its paw and hear my son’s voice.

Hey, Mom, it’s your son. I was just calling you to tell you Happy Mother’s Day and that I love you and I miss you and I can’t wait to come and see you whenever I get leave. So, um, call me back I guess whenever you get this message. Um, I am on my way back to Ft. Bragg right now so I will probably be driving, so if I don’t pick up the phone, then I am probably on the road. But I will call you back just as soon as I can. I love you and I miss you, and I will talk to you later. Okay, bye.

Although I had been crying a lot since the death of my son, it wasn’t really my personality to cry this much. And I definitely didn’t like to cry in public. It was the main reason I had put off building a bear for over a year, but now I had a coupon for twenty dollars off at Build-A-Bear and I had to go right by the store to get some printing done at Staples. Also, I figured, since it was Valentine’s Day and I didn’t have a guy in my life, it would be a present to myself.

I dropped off the items I needed to print at Staples and then made my way to the Build-A-Bear store, where I walked around to view all the options. A sales clerk approached me. “Can I help you with anything?” she asked.

“Yes,” I said. “I have a voice recording on my cell phone that I would like to put inside a bear. Is there some way we can do that?”

“Usually we have you make the recording in person,” she replied.

I explained the situation and why I was hoping to be able to use the recording on my phone.

“Just a moment,” she said and walked into the back room. A few moments later, she returned and asked me to follow her. She introduced me to her manager and said that they wanted to hear the phone message so they could determine the best way to go about making the recording.

After playing the voicemail message, the manager informed me that it was too long to get it all onto one of their recording devices.

“That’s okay,” I said. “I would just like to get as much as we can and leave it at that.”

The manager asked the sales clerk to get one of the recorders. Then she turned to me and said, “We will record it back here so there won’t be any background noise.”

I positioned the phone right next to the recorder and played the message.

Once the message ended, the clerk said, “Do you want to hear it? I’m not sure how much of the message it captured.”

“No,” I said, choking back tears. “It will be okay. Let’s just put it into a bear before I lose it.”

The sales clerk gave me a hug and then a tissue. After I dried my eyes, we walked back out into the store to build my bear. Thirty minutes later, I was back in my car with my new bear. I carefully removed it from the box and pressed its paw.

Hey, Mom, it’s your son. I was just calling you to tell you HAVE A GOOD DAY and I love you and I miss you.

What? Had I heard that correctly? How could “Happy Mother’s Day” become “Have a good day”?

I played it again; it was as clear as could be. I knew that a glitch had changed the verbiage, but for it to have manipulated the wording as it had and to end at the perfect spot was overwhelming.

I hugged the bear and cried, thanking my son and God for the perfect Valentine’s Day present.

~Kelly Kowall

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