The following story is based on true events. While the events are real, names have been changed to protect the innocent. The story is told in bedtime story form, because the author is, well, sleepy.
Once upon a time, there was a lively family with a Papa Bear, Mama Bear, and three Little Bears. Papa Bear decided to heroically give Mama Bear a break one warm, summer afternoon, and offered to take all the Little Bears out for an adventure. Mama Bear was so thankful, and enjoyed her quiet hours sipping hot tea, and reading her favorite book, in her favorite chair.
Unbeknownst to Mama Bear, when Papa Bear and their Little Bears left the woods, they decided to innocently visit a pet store. This pet store was home to adorable puppies, with their pleading eyes and warm, licking kisses. It was also the beginning of something no one could have predicted.
Papa Bear was careful to explain to his Little Bears that they were only visiting the puppies, they would most certainly not be getting a puppy.
Papa Bear was deluding himself, and had no earthly idea what he was getting himself into. The pleading puppy eyes had gotten to him too.
When they returned home, Mama Bear now had three Little Bears and one Papa Bear all in love with a special puppy. There were rapturous stories of this puppy’s sweetness and perfection. There were tears of joy, then tears of disbelief if this puppy could not be theirs. This puppy had to be theirs!
All wishes came true the very next day, and there was joy! Oh, the joy! Love was in the air! The sky was the limit! Life was full of green lights and giggles! There were glorious rainbows and prancing unicorns around every corner!
The Little Bears were safely tucked in their beds with visions of their new puppy dancing in their heads, and Papa and Mama Bear began to quietly wonder if, in fact, Papa Bear was allergic to this new addition to the family. Womp, womp.
His eyes were red, his throat was itchy, his nose was running, and he couldn’t stop coughing. Hypoallergenic this new little addition was not. It was excruciating, and took all night, but Mama and Papa bear made a difficult decision.
They ultimately broke the news, along with their Little Bears’ hearts, the following morning. It was appropriately dark and rainy as the Little Bears were told their puppy could not stay forever. While everyone loved their new puppy, they ultimately loved Papa Bear much more.
The lucky puppy found a new home farther across the forest with the thrilled Otter family. Meanwhile, the Little Bears spent the day feeling all the feelings that go along with heartbreak, disappointment, and fleeting understanding.
So what lessons did the Little Bears learn during their day with their beloved puppy?
They learned that life, in fact, is not always green lights and giggles. They learned that sometimes what we want is not what we need. They learned that it’s okay to be sad. They learned that sometimes what we plan, and what actually happens can be very different things. They learned that their hearts had room for a puppy they could only keep for a day, but would love forever.
Surely, they will live happily ever after. There’s no question they will. But, for today, they are feeling their feelings, and trusting that tomorrow they will wake to brighter skies.
What are some of the lessons you’ve learned through unexpected disappointments?