Matt Knutson: A Care Bears pillowcase and planning ahead

Published 9:52 pm Thursday, February 15, 2018

Things I Tell My Wife by Matt Knutson

“We need to do laundry soon,” I remarked to my wife while getting ready for bed. A little over a week ago I had quarantined myself to our spare bedroom in the basement because of flu-like symptoms. The only way Sera allowed me to return to our bed was if I changed my pillowcase to avoid spreading the germs. Unfortunately, this left me with one option: the Care Bears pillowcase.

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I don’t completely understand why we have a sole Care Bears pillow case. I’m not even sure if it is ours, as Sera believe it originally belonged to one of her friends from college. What I do know is that it’s been properly folded up in our bathroom closet since I can remember, and it went relatively unused until my moment of need. I suppose that’s exactly why Care Bears exist, our moments of need.

To be honest, I know very little about these whimsical creatures. I was born in 1989, and after some brief internet sleuthing, it looks like I just barely missed their peak in popularity. I can imagine a younger version of myself watching something about Care Bears at one point in my childhood, but it was nothing that rose to the level of legendary television like Power Rangers. Now that is a pillow case I’d love to find in the bathroom closet.

I figured this pillowcase would be a short-term solution, but in the midst of resting post-sickness and Valentine’s Day preparations, we simply haven’t gotten around to doing another load of laundry. With our awake time being stretched thin between our two young girls, the only time we even think about putting a load in the washing machine is right before bed — when I need the pillowcase the most! It’s an unfortunate cycle that we repeat night after night.

Upon further analysis, it’s become clear this pillowcase situation is part of a bigger problem: we haven’t mastered how to plan too far ahead as a family of four. Yes, we’ve got the basics down when you consider what we’re doing day-by-day, and we’ve got some long-term stuff pretty solidified, but anything in between is us flying by the seat of our pants. An easy example comes to mind with Valentine’s Day. We knew when it was and had the class lists from our girls’ day care, but we still ended up shopping for their classes’ Valentine’s gifts Wednesday morning. It would be wise for us to take action just a little bit further in advance.

For some families, they are really good at this. They’re the ones with homemade Valentine’s and kids who are donning appropriately red and pink attire. As much as I desire for us to get there, we just aren’t anywhere near that level of preparation. I can only assume that in those households, the parents have different skillsets and leverage each other impeccably. The Knutson household doesn’t work that way. We’re a dad and mom with similar talents and motivations, meaning gaps show up from time to time and won’t be filled unless we’re very intentional about it. And who wants to be intentional about doing laundry so the husband doesn’t have to sleep on a Care Bears pillow anymore? The pillowcase is certainly doing its job, despite its exterior design, and maybe getting the job done is what matters more than anything else sometimes.

Wanting to learn more about what I’m resting my head on each night, I discovered the 10 original Care Bears: Bedtime Bear (how appropriate), Birthday Bear, Cheer Bear, Friend Bear, Funshine Bear, Good Luck Bear, Grumpy Bear, Love-a-Lot Bear, Tenderheart Bear and Wish Bear. I doubt I’m absorbing their magical qualities each night, it’s a pretty good group to have surrounding your head at the end of a long day. Only time will tell what their psychological impact has been during my sleep cycle. I guess we’ll know more once Wish Bear finally brings me that new pillowcase.

Matt Knutson is a communications specialist in Rochester.