It was November, it was very cold and grey. The hedgerows were still and bare and the birds were huddled in the ditches trying to keep warm. Dandlebear watched out of the window, he could see that the coldest time of year was coming.
‘Stop doing that’ said a cross voice behind him and he turned to see Emily jumping up and down on the sofa. Thomas, a little boy who was just a little bit taller than Dandlebear when he stood up straight, looked cross and squabbly. Dandlebear smiled across at him, ‘stop it now Emily’ he said and Emily flopped down looking glum. Dandlebear turned and looked out of the window again, it was going to be a difficult few weeks before Christmas, he could see that for certain.
Emily and Thomas were at their daddy’s house where they always were on a Saturday morning. Emily and Thomas had a mummy who lived in one house and a daddy who lived in another house. Every week they lived in one house from Monday to Friday evening and then another house from Friday evening until they went to school on Monday morning. They had been doing this ever since they could remember, so it was very normal for them. The problem was that Emily didn’t seem normal anymore, for some reason she had started to get cross when it was time to go to daddy’s house and that was causing an awful lot of problems, not just for Emily but for everybody.
Dandlebear was the bear that looked after Emily and Thomas. Every little boy or girl who lives in two homes needs a Dandlebear. This is because living in two homes means that little children have to do things that little children sometimes find difficult. Having a Dandlebear makes those things easier because Dandlebears go with little children as they move between houses. Dandlebears understand you see, which makes everything a whole lot easier. The problem was, Emily had fallen out with Dandlebear and was not doing as he said. Dandlebear could see that she was unhappy and he knew why. Being oh so wise, he put on his thinking hat (a rather fetching affair in blue velvet with a large red feather) and sat down to ponder.
Emily is nearly eleven, thought Dandlebear. That means she is probably missing her friends at the weekends. Thomas however is only four years old, that means he wants to play with his daddy and spend a lot of time with him. Emily is probably feeling left out he concluded, which means we must do something to make sure she is not. Aha, thought Dandlebear with a bright look on his face, I know what we must do for Emily, and he went off upstairs to make some plans.
Meanwhile downstairs Emily was busy getting into trouble. ‘ I don’t want to go to grandma’s house’ she shouted at her daddy and ran upstairs passing Dandlebear who was on his way back down with a large box with lots of feathers sticking out of it. Emily looked at the box as she ran past Dandlebear and wondered vaguely what he was up to but carried on and slammed her bedroom door shut with a loud BANG. Dandlebear went into the kitchen and put the box on the table and looked at Emily’s daddy who looked back at him with a sad look on his face.
Now we all know that Dandlebears don’t talk. They don’t talk because they don’t need to, everything they need to say is sort of passed between them and the people they love on a silent wave. As Emily and Thomas’s daddy looked at Dandlebear and then at the box with the feathers and then back at Dandlebear, he knew in an instant everything that Dandlebear was trying to tell him. ‘Aha’ said daddy out loud, ‘I see what we need to do’ and he and Dandlebear got to work, daddy using the mobile phone a lot and Dandlebear sorting out feathers and hats and what looked like a lot of old clothes. Soon, daddy and Dandlebear were finished and they sat back in a satisfied sort of a way looking at their handiwork. Shortly after, the doorbell rang and then the fun began.
Later, as Dandlebear watched from behind the curtains, Emily’s friends, who had all come round for a dressing up party, danced their way around the living room for the seven hundredth time, singing along and laughing as the feathers in their hats twirled and spiralled after them. Dad had ordered pizza and they sat and ate it whilst they were watching their favourite film, which this week happened to be about witches in hats with feathers in them. Dandlebear looked at Emily’s face, which instead of being grumpy was happy and shining. As he watched, Emily spotted him behind the curtain and blew him a kiss. ‘Thank you Dandlebear’ she smiled silently at him and Dandlebear beamed back to her ‘you are welcome Emily, you are a good girl, you were just lonely and missing your friends, now you are not and so all is well’ and Emily twirled and danced her way once more around the room, happy that she had Dandlebear to help her and her daddy, all felt well and happy and good again. Daddy waved over to Dandlebear as he passed with Thomas on his shoulders and gave him a thumbs up, he was so glad to see Emily so happy again. It wasn’t that Emily was unhappy being at daddy’s, she was just lonely and was missing her friends, as all eleven year old girls do. Daddy hadn’t thought about that until Dandlebear helped him, now that he had he could see it was ever so simple. He was so glad to have Dandlebear.
Everyone needs a Dandlebear and this was one time when Dandlebear had really saved the day.
Thank you so much for that story. It brings back memories for me from 2007, although my solution was slightly different. Also you will have to forgive me because I knew nothing of Dandlebear at the time.
My daughter, then in her first year at Secondary school was living with me at an address some fifteen miles from her mother’s address. She was living with me full-time and only occasionally visiting her mother. Because all her friends bar one lived in or around her mother my daughter would often feel she was missing out on fun times with her friends.
Eventually, after three months with me my daughter ended up living full-time with her Mum, and close to her friends. My reaction was to move back into the village where my daughter was. I got a house just five minutes’ walk from my former partner’s house.
Of course it wasn’t all plain sailing. My daughter ganged up against me sometimes. At one point she told me I was a stalker…….I had been visiting the play area in the hope of chance meetings with my children.
On the other hand there were positive moments when my children helped me decorate what were to be their bedrooms; they would choose their favourite colours and I would try to get them the furniture of their choice.
As far as Xmas is concerned the children have two, one at their Mum’s on 25th and then another at their Dad’s on 26th. Initially I wanted to share the 25th with my partner, suggesting that alternate years might be appropriate but now, with the fullness of time I have come to accept that Xmas day is in fact on 26th December. I had Dandlebear explain that these days Santa is so busy on Xmas Eve that he reserves a special night for my children on 25th so that’s why their stockings appear on 26th.
One Xmas I was rumbled; my son staying awake so that he could see it was me and not the real Santa Claus…………………………this is the kind of happy memory I have. My son and daughter sometimes remind me what a poor likeness I am to Santa Claus and how my Ho, Ho, Ho’s don’t fool them.
Beautiful and touching Karen.