I was given teddy when I was born 27 years ago by my posh uncle and aunt in London. He's a Steiff bear, so must have been expensive! I remember his label said he was "made in West Germany" in red stitching, before it was chewed so much it became illegible. He has beautiful golden fur, worn soft and lovely from many years of cuddles.

As a child, teddy slept in my bed with me every night. I would give him a cuddle and then turn over and feel a feeling of safety, of not being alone, from his gentle presence at my back. If we went on holiday, teddy would come too; we were solid companions. I didn't carry him around with me during the day, but he was always there waiting for me in my bed at night. My mum occasionally even ordered the same pyjamas for him as she ordered for me, from a special catalogue.

Although I loved teddy, I think especially as I got older I sometimes felt guilty for not loving him as much as other people loved their cuddly toys. Once we left teddy behind on a trip to Canada and I remember one of my friends being much more distraught at this news that I was; we would get him back again after all, as my parents arranged for him to be posted.

I can't remember exactly when I stopped sleeping with teddy. I think it was probably sometime in my late teens, when my boyfriend started staying over. Teddy still lives in my parents house, surveying my childhood room from the shelf. I always say hello to him when I go back there, maybe to appease my guilt at abandoning him. Although he doesn't live with me now, I would be devastated if he was lost.

A couple of my cousins have recently had children and I have bought Stieff teddies for them too, wanting to carry on the tradition and give them a special friend, like I had in teddy. But I'm also aware that they might not develop a similar relationship with their teddy as I had with mine. I'll keep my teddy for if I ever have children, in case they would like to have him as a friend and companion just as I did.

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