Sunday, October 17, 2010

Teddy bears worth their weight in gold

There is a time to put away childish things. And then there's a time to get them back out again.

Last week was a killer. Lots of deadlines, lots of good intentions, with only a minimal success rate. A higher-than-average rate of tears. So the weekend, I decided, definitely needed something high on the fun scale. But what? I wanted to take a trip somewhere, but I didn't want the traffic and parking to end up stressing me out even more.

So I came up with what (I hoped) was a fabulous idea. I remembered seeing a sign awhile back ... I was almost sure ... for a teddy bear factory. And while I certainly like teddy bears and have collected my fair share of stuffed animals over the years, my daughter could easily be called obsessed. Oh, she's tapered off as she's grown, sure, but she still gets that gleam in her eye when the two words are mentioned together. So I had a feeling she'd be up for a little low-key adventure.

So I did a little (effortless) online research, and found out that, yes, I was a scant 38 minutes (says Mapquest) from Chelsea, Mich., and the renowned Chelsea Teddy Bear Company. (

The Chelsea Teddy Bear Company actually boasts a toy museum, retail shop, and factory - 10,000 little bears under one roof - and it offers free tours on Saturdays. So we left the boys behind and headed out on a little mommy-daughter field trip.

It was so fun. There were no big crowds or traffic jams, my daughter was delighted, and really, how can you not love teddy bears? We trolled about the museum, took a tour of the giant warehouse, giggled together, took photos, and yes, of course, I bought her a bear at the end.

It was no big deal, really. But taking a drive on a gorgeous fall day, seeing the delighted, excited expression on my kid's face, and forgetting all the stress of the week - to me, those little bears were worth their weight in gold.

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