I can't remember the oldest bear when he had fur. He was my companion in my cradle, and I'd hugged all his fur off before I can remember. Only a few soft golden tufts behind his ears tell me what he must have looked like once. I carried out surgery on his arm after I had to rescue him from the spaniel puppy, and over the years I have replaced all his paws as they wore down He has had two growls, and is presently silent, but I think he might like a new one now. He has witnessed every triumph and disaster, every embarrassing adolescent moment, every meltdown, every heartbreak, every mistake, and every joy with reliable love. Never once has he judged or blamed me. When I have neglected him, he has patiently waited until I regained my sense of priorities. I seem to remember he was once married to a doll, but I forget which one.
In earlier years he shared guardianship of me with Bunjy, a pink rabbit with a white tail. Bunjy seems to have lost weight and faded over the years and has now retired to a drawer, only emerging on important occasions. When the children were younger, there were a few - thankfully few - really rotten days, you know the sort of thing? When a thoroughly miserable child went to bed, it was a case of 'tonight, I think you need Mummy's rabbit', and Bunjy would see them through the night.
Other bers have names. The oldest bear is just Teddy. Always was.
When did I last take him to bed? I don't quite remember. About Thursday, I think.