Everyone spends far too much time stressing over what their friends, family, other halves etc should have for Christmas. Do they want tickets to see their favourite band that are going to every city apart from yours? Do they want that perfume they’ve been hinting towards for a few months now? Or do they just want nothing in particular? I find that the most difficult people to buy for at Christmas time is my immediate family. I’m just too close to them. I know what they want, but I also know they don’t really like having money being spent on them, so they usually buy what they want in advance, leaving me without any idea of what to get them. But every once in a while, you will hit the jackpot. You’ll find that one perfect gift that will be the best present ever. Something they will cherish for the rest of their lives.
In 2002, my mum and step-dad did exactly that. I was about 6 years old, I was content with whatever I had. I probably asked for some Barbie doll or some weird board games that was coming out that year. I’ve always been pretty easygoing about life, especially presents. I just thought it was nice enough of people to even consider me. I never expected anything much. But 2002 was the year that I received a gift that I will never, ever, not need.
As a 6-year-old, you’re probably wondering what on earth made such an important impact on my life? Well, at 6 years old I was one of the weird kids. But I was the weird kid everyone spoke to and because I was reasonably smart, friendly with everyone, no one really cared. I had a few close friends, but at the end of the day, I didn’t have a best friend. Looking back on it, my best friends were my family and my cats. Pretty sad, I know. But that’s how it was. So on Christmas morning, after opening all my presents I was just happy and thankful that people had bothered to get me anything at all. That’s when my mum pulled out this house shaped box with a tiny peep-hole on the side. I was instantly thinking ‘oh my god do we have a dog now? How on earth will our 4 cats cope with a dog?’ but I’d be lying if I wasn’t getting excited at the idea of having a dog! My mum dragged the box over to me and told me to open my ‘big’ present. My mum and step-dad, Mark, sat there smiling at me, my mum had tears in her eyes and I was just so confused as to what was happening. So 6 year old me carefully opens this box just to find a fudge coloured teddy bear dressed in pyjamas inside. I looked up at my family, confused as heck. This wasn’t a dog!? I pulled out this teddy and noticed it had a rolled up piece of paper next to it in the box. Once unrolled, it was clear that it was a birth certificate:
Date of Birth: 25.12.02
Owned by: Lily Mae’
I was so confused. Why did they give me a teddybear? Did I ask for a teddybear? Had I wanted one? I looked up at my mum and she told me the story of how she found Fudgie. In a room full of excitable children and teddies coming from all directions, she saw one that was perfect. A very lovely, light fudge coloured teddy with big brown eyes stared up at her. And that was it. He was the one. They got a member of staff at the Build-A-Bear-Workshop to get on the sewing and stuffing machine and he was brought to life. My mum had to pick out a heart for this teddy, warm it up in her hands, and make a wish. My mum wished for me to be happy, safe and loved. When I heard her rendition of the story it sounded like she was being super emotional about it, however, looking back – I’m sure her wish came true and is still going strong. After the tears were shed and wishes were made, they had to pick out an outfit for my lovely new teddy. My mum and step dad picked out gorgeous red tartan pyjamas for him, and decided he was to be called Fudgie. Of course named after one of my most favourite book series as a child – Super Fudge. Fudgie seemed like the perfect name. Fudgie was the perfect name.
I remember to start with I was unsure of Fudgie. I didn’t know what to do with him. Did I play with him like Barbie’s or Polly Pockets? Did I have to go on teddybear picnics in the woods? What could I play with this new addition to my family? And then all of a sudden, I was never to be parted from Fudgie. Come rain or fall – he was with me. If I was sick, he was there to cwtch and hold me as I cried. He comforted me as my tears fell, as my tummy ached, my ears popped. He held my hand in hospital. He held my hand when I nearly ended my life – he holds my hand now in a tattoo on my wrist to remind me to never do that again. Fudgie turned out to be my best friend. I’m 20 years old and I can’t sleep without him. Everywhere I go, he goes. If I go to Germany, Manchester, or even away to West Wales for a mini holiday during the summer, Fudgie will always be with me. I’ll forever ask for him during stressful, hurtful or distressing times in my life, and he will always be there to comfort me.
I used to believe I could feel Fudgie’s heartbeat some nights as I was drifting off to sleep. Sometimes I think I feel it even now. Although if he got up in the middle of the night and told me he was alive, I’d be throwing salt at him whilst calling the Winchester’s to come help me de-posses my Fudgie. But I’d like to think it’s all the love Fudgie has brought me that’s making me feel his ‘heartbeat’ – or maybe it’s quite simply magic.
I know this was a bit of an unusual post – but Christmas of 2002 was the best Christmas ever because I had the best present ever. I can’t live a day without him, as sad as you may think that sounds. Let me know in the comments below about your most favourite Christmas present ever and tell myself and Fudgie all about the story behind it! And until tomorrow, have an awfully big adventure!