The walls were lined with bins of bears and cats and bunnies, ready to be stuffed, stitched and taken home by pint-sized “parents.”
Lydia had been begging us to take her here — to the Build-A-Bear Workshop — for her 7th birthday. Her birthday is in November, but she’d had this arranged since April.
She’s a Type-A planner like that. Like her dad. And yes, … like her mom, too.
So there we were on a snowy Saturday in November, far from home, looking for the perfect bear to take home.
Anna chose a white “Hannah Montana” bear. Lydia picked a cat, with pink leopard-print fur. We took the animals to the stuffing machine first, where the attendant instructed Lydia and Anna.
“Kiss the heart,” she told them, and they did.
“Now turn the heart over,” she said, “and kiss the other side.”
They did as they were told, and then the lady inserted double-kissed hearts into furry bodies.
Afterward, we moved to the place where the girls gave their animals baths and a proper “fluffing.”
We picked clothes and accessories — they even have Build-a-Bear underwear — and we took a good long while picking perfect names. These things take time, you know.
Before we left, we stopped at the front of the shop and took a photo to commemorate what they had carefully chosen, stitched and named.
At Build-A-Bear, the slogan goes something like this:
CHOOSE ME … HEAR ME … STUFF ME … STITCH ME … FLUFF ME … NAME ME … TAKE ME HOME.
Look at those smiles, just over there, on the right-hand margin. We take joy in what we create, don’t we? We take joy in whom we choose. In what we stitch together. In those we name. And especially, in what we take home.
I suppose it’s built into us by the One whose image we bear.
Imagine God, in His own workshop — in His “Build-A-Person Workshop.” It’s there where he chose us, stitched us together, named us, and sent us out into the world.
And one day, you know, He’ll take us home.
I imagine Him there, in His workshop, kissing both sides of our hearts. Before even time began.