We shed the outfit and tossed it, rarely thinking of the confused origins concerning his stuffed animal identity again.
That is, we didn't think of it again until Brown Bear, who undoubtedly had risen to the illustrious status of Reese's favorite plush toy of all time, was lost on a shopping expedition four years later.
We traced over our steps. I called stores. My husband talked to managers in person and sifted through the forgotten umbrellas and overlooked mateless gloves that had been tossed into lost-and-found bins under the customer service counter. The result was the same each time. No Brown Bear.
Bedtime was rough that night.
Within days we had googled "bear wearing bunny costume" (really, there are more results to this search than there ought to be) until we found the one. An image of Reese's little brown bear in the original pink bunny outfit was on the screen, for the taking, once we paid full shipping on Amazon, of course.
A few weeks later a package arrived on our doorstep.
Brown Bear had come home.
Joel and I tore into the box, lifted the replacement bear from the styrofoam peanuts, and immediately realized something was wrong. This brown bear's bunny costume wasn't removable. This poor guy was stitched into a pink sleeper with bunny ears.
To eBay we would turn. Lo and behold, some woman in Washington or Oregon (I forget which) just happened to be selling a "brown bear in removable bunny costume," and gladly shipped our second replacement bear across the country. The reunion was sweet indeed.
And that is the long-winded explanation of why we have two brown bears -- one of which permanently wears a pink bunny costume.
But that's not what this post is about. I provided the background so I could tell you this:
Due to excessive stretching by certain little hands, Brown Bear recently suffered an injury to his neck that required surgery, and when you've invested as much into a brown bear as we have with ours, you take surgery very seriously.
Brown Bear, we hope that you are with our family for a long, long time. Please don't get lost. We really don't want to have to buy you again.