When my wife was pregnant with our first kid, the great grandmother sent it a musical teddy bear that played Teddy Bear's Picnic. It was the very first gift that showed up. I would wind it up and hold it on my love's big belly, while we lazed in bed - talking, laughing, and waiting in trepidation for the scary intruder to horn in on our duprass.

The intruder turned out to be twins, so we ended up with two of nearly everything you can imagine, but that teddybear seemed to have a special talent. When they were restless and needy, we would wind up the bear and put in in the crib that the girls shared. More often than not, they would relax and become quiet, and all four of us would get a sweet moment of sleep.

Now they're Big Kids, and the bear is just a ratty remnant of its former self. It gets stuffed into boxes and stored in closets, or left out in the garage. Sometimes I run across it, and when I do, I always stop what I'm doing for a moment and wind it up. It doesn't play quite right anymore. It has gone out of tune, and it's slower than it should be. It sounds pretty awful.

When it runs down, I stuff it back into the box, and put the box away. I get busy, but I have to wipe my face on my sleeve. There's some kind of dust in that thing that makes my eyes water.