Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Mama Bears

There's a certain
in motherhood.

 ~ Celeste Zappala

I clearly remember
my first, ferocious
maternal stirrings.

Not for my babies,
who would come
later, but for a black
mutt with a white
chest who we named
Winnie, after another
brown-eyed beauty
on a TV show called
The Wonder Years.

Her wide-eyed puppy
expression, her oh-so-
soft fur, the too big for
her body paws.....

I found it all so, 

Early on in our puppy
parenthood, I went to
let Winnie back inside
from our gated yard and
found the yard empty,
with the gate open.

The adrenaline coursed
fiercely through my veins
and before I knew it, I
was outside, frantically
calling her name.

She was in the front
yard, greeting children
on their way home from
school.  Relief poured
over me and as I led Winnie
back inside the house, I was
struck by a realization.

This dog had stolen my
heart.  I was officially a
mama bear, ready to protect
her cub, and I would never,
ever, be the same.

Even if you do not have
a pet or children, you may
have experienced this
ferocity when caring for
an elderly relative.  

Your heart tells you, 

I will do whatever it takes 
to protect this one who is 
so dear to me.

Mama bear love.

I was skimming Pinterest
last week while listening
to a TV show, when a
picture caught my eye.

It was a little child looking
proudly into the camera
with a teddy bear.  The
picture was linked to a
website called 
The Mother Bear Project.


Intrigued, I clicked on the
image to learn more.

The Mother Bear Project
gives love, comfort and
hope to children in emerging
nations who are affected
by HIV/AIDS, with the
simple gift of a hand-knit
or crocheted teddy bear,
signed by its creator.


For most, it's the only
toy they've ever owned.

As I read their stories and
reactions to the 
unconditional love 
that their teddys
symbolized, I felt it.

That ferocity.

That mama bear love.


The sensation of wanting
to wrap these little ones in 
my arms and let them know 
that they are cherished.

I am hopeless with knitting
needles, but once upon a
time, I knew how to crochet.

I sent away for the crocheted
bear pattern and in two days,
there it was, in my mailbox.

It's not going to be the fastest
teddy bear ever created, but
it will be filled with this 
mama bear's love.

I hope it's just the first
of many that I turn out.

To join me in this sweet,
sweet project, click here.

Mama bear love.

Have you felt it?



Lisa at Shine Your Light said...

What a lovely idea!! Of course you sent away for a pattern, you have one of the kindest hearts I know and you inspire me with your words and your wisdom and your perspective so very much!
PS How gorgeous are those little ones??? I wish I could meet them in person.

Low Tide High Style said...

What a wonderful idea! I would join you, but I doubt that anything I would make would resemble a bear, or any animal for that matter! I can't wait to see your beautiful crocheted bear!


Cindy said...

I love Winnie! Such a sweet looking dog!
I also love the Mama Bear Project!
My mom is always knitting hats and scarfs for the homeless. I think she would LOVE this project. Thank you for sharing!
I am sure the child that receives your bear will feel all the love that you put into it..

Farmgirl Paints said...

hey girl love this project! i'm just learning to knit. can't imagine actually making something other than a scarf, but if i could i'd be right there mailing out bears. need a lesson. love your heart in this post. those faces!!

Mary Timmers said...

I KNOW the feeling! Something you are not ashamed of, standing up for the thing you're passionate about. When you're finished with your bear, give us an update with pics, okay? Bless you for your fierce and loving heart!

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

I fear that I am not a crochet person, Suzanne, but I think this project is a great way for anyone who spends their time doing this craft, to share their love with a child.

No children or pets in my life. But my MOTHER BEAR instincts have come out as a teacher and even a wife. I am known to stand up to men bigger than myself in the name of MOTHER BEAR LOVE...OH YEAH.....love IS the fiercest force in the universe, I believe.

WOnderful photos!! Anita

Olive Cooper said...

That is a smashing idea. I have had Mama bear love for countless patients and now have it for my elderly cat who does not need to go outside but I let him out anyway or he pouts. I worry but he does not go far. CC and I tried to teach ourselves how to crochet one summer and we are without hope Suzanne. XO, Olive

Joanna said...

You are, as usual, spot on with your recognition of the ferocity of love.

The Mother Bear Project is wonderful - the photographs of those children with their bears shake up all sorts of emotions, love being the main one.

Sadly I can neither knit nor crochet. I was hoping fabric bears would also be acceptable but they aren't :( Your bear, made with such love, will be a wonderful cuddly hug for a deserving child.

Winnie looks like she was a fantastic canine friend.


michele said...

what a fantastic cause--and how incredible that it is almost certain the creator/giver will feel just as blessed as the receiver.


LizlovesVintage said...

Hi Suzanne,
I just wanted to stop by and say hello. Thanks for your Likes on Instagram. This entry just made me smile and touched my heart so. Thank you for posting. Those crochet needles need to come out of the closet from vacation.
xxx Liz


I have never felt mama bear love for a pet, and thanks for letting me be your friend, anyway, Suzanne.:)

But mama bear fierceness for my girls and so many other wonderful young women that I care so much about.

I love the creativity of this project and your heart to be involved.



I am always grateful for a wonderful blog.
Favorite season is autumn now Japanese.
Stuffed animals, very cute. It is lovely.
I'm sorry I was wrong spelling.
From Japan.
Ryoma Sakamto.

patty said...

my heart just crushed.
i have bins and bins of yarn upstairs, forgotten knitting projects abandoned.
i just might have to.

and the puppy love. crushed my heart, too. took me to my sweet memories of ciba, our first mutt. i loved her for 14 years and she died in my arms. i still think of her, especially at christmas.

i have to go recompose. :)

Elizabeth@ Pine Cones and Acorns said...


Oh I do know the feeling of overwhelming love for a pet, my dog brings out the best in me and frankly the love and protection I feel for her makes me afraid of what I would be like if I had kids. I may never have let them out into the world.

I do not know hot to knit but what a wonderful gift and project for those that are.

Have a great day! xx Elizabeth

The enchanted home said...

Knitting and me go hand in hand like ice cream and vinegar in other words..not a good combo however this is an AMAZINGLY AWESOME idea! I love it. I am so touched by others generosity of spirit, and I know I am never happier than when I am giving especially to someone who really needs it.

I am impressed...and think its amazing that you are taking this on. Bravo to you Suzanne. I am going to go read about it now, thanks!

Hindsfeet said...

Oh Girlfriend, as always, your posts strike such a chord.....i am at present fostering a sweet little puppy and have to hand him over to whoever his permanent family will be tomorrow and it is breaking my heart.....he is wonderful, like yours, right down to the "paws to big for his body"....I love this little guy and want the best for him.....

....hopefully the transition will be peaceful, for him *and* for me.....but mostly for him......

little prayers if you think of it...

thanks Suzanne,

Tiffini said...

where to start..
love the idea...what a way to bring back knitting! I miss that past time. I never learned but my grandma did.
I have many a mama bear moment and you can literally hear your heart thumping...like it is going to pound right out of your chest.
breaks me heart for these little ones.
let us see when your done
big hugs

pollydove said...

Those children and their little bears are just too precious! Good for you for taking on the task ... I don't think I could if my life depended on it, but I do know a few knitters that I am going to pass this information along too.

As for fierce "mama" love ... this is the most strange, random story - but years ago my kids had pet rats. One of our favorite rats had 18 babies. EIGHTEEN!!!! My (idiot,ex) husband thought he would help out the mother and put a heat lamp over those babies to keep them "warm". He fried half of them! That little rat mommy had gathered the other nine underneath her and was huddled in a corner.

Needless to say - because I loved that mama rat so much and love watching all little mothers in nature as a rule, I was LIVID!!! I don't think I had ever been so mad at my husband in my life! I started bawling and just took off down the street to get away from him. I just felt sick about it.

Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

This is such a worthwhile project, Suzanne, and I love that even those who do not crochet or knit can donate to help with shipping, etc! I love the photo of you and Winnie!

Stitchfork said...

Someone is going to be VERY happy to receive your bear!

Leslie said...

Good for you Suzanne! What a wonderful project for such a great cause. Those children are precious and such a sweet picture of you and Winnie :)


Jeanie said...

I'm not familiar with the Mother Bear project. But it sounds just wonderful. The photos you share are so beautiful. Your posts, your heart, make my heart sing.

Palomasea said...

Really really beautiful...a truly great cause, dear Suzanne...
Bless you for your beautiful and generous heart!
- Irina

Lili said...

This is such a cool undertaking that you are doing Suzanne! I love it when I witness the Mama Bear reaction in anyone! And it was fun to learn of when you first experienced it too with your sweet little puppy. I can so relate! xo ~Lili