The Patron Saint of Boo Boo

A miracle happened at our house this week. We’re talking right up there with the image of Mary at Lourdes. I’m not saying people are going to drop everything and pilgrimage to our home in order to be closer to the holy ground or anything, but it was pretty freaking amazing.

It all started with a lost bear. Blue Bear, more commonly known as “Boo Boo”, has been traveling the world with my son Henry since the first time I shoved that bear in his crib to stop the 3 am screaming back in 2004. For some reason this worked, and Henry formed a strong attachment to the bear; hence the bear went everywhere.  Boo Boo has been loved to the point of frayed edges and he’s been all over—the grocery, the pool, doctor’s offices, parks, on almost every single ride at Disney World, and of course, he’s been to the beach.

Which is why our whole family was in a panic when Boo Boo could not be found the day before we left for vacation. Normally I would not put so much effort into finding a little bear, but our beach trip was going to include Henry’s 6th birthday, and it just wouldn’t be the same without Boo Boo to help blow out the candles. So while we should have been packing our suitcases last friday night, instead we turned the house upside down looking for a little blue bear.

Boo Boo has often been lost, seemingly for good, and then turned up later in some strange places. For example, once when Henry was very small and could barely talk, he told me repeatedly that Boo Boo had gone on vacation. I looked and looked for that bear before I finally took Henry’s word for it and climbed into the attic and found Boo Boo inside one of our suitcases. (John and I had been on a trip without the kids and apparently Henry had put Boo Boo inside the suitcase as I was unpacking). Another time we looked for over a week for the bear, only to find him when we turned on the dining room light and noticed a burning smell. There sat Boo Boo up on the chandelier, a little charred, but safely found.

So I was confident the bear would eventually turn up. But when we finally had to leave on vacation without him, and then subsequent calls (and a personal trip to check the lost and found at the pool, thanks to my sweet sister) did not yield a little blue bear, I began to worry. Maybe this would be the time Boo Boo wasn’t found. I thought of all the memories, and poor little Henry without his best friend. Then I thought of Boo Boo–sitting in some dumpster or dark alley. I had to remind myself several times (on the verge of tears) that it was just an inanimate object, and not one of my own kids. The saddest moment came when Henry blew out his birthday candles and made his only wish, “for Boo Boo to come home.”

Like good Catholics, and at my Mom’s insistance, we took to praying to St. Anthony, patron saint of lost items. Henry declared on our drive home from the beach that he had prayed for St. Anthony to leave Boo Boo at our house for him to find when we came home. I felt so bad for the little guy–there was just no way in my mind that St. Anthony was going to deliver this bear to our doorstep. And then…

Not 5 minutes after we walked in our front door I heard a gut-wrenching scream filled with such emotion that I thought either someone’s arm had been torn off or we had just won the lottery. But no, it was better than all that: Henry found Boo Boo sitting in my office, right inside the front door, tucked into a corner that I swear I had checked a thousand times during my search.

And so, the legend of Boo Boo lives on. Miracle or not, I think I’ll brush up on my catechism of saints. You just never know when you’re going to need it.

Boo Boo in his holiday attire. 2009

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