Mom And Son Apart For 500 Days Used Teddy Bears In Each Other's Place
A mother and son using matching teddy bears to fill each other’s place while they were separated by the pandemic for 500 days emotionally reunite and introduce each other’s toy. Since the start of the pandemic, Rebecca Lloyd, 36, from Alexandria, Virginia, had been stuck in China where she and husband Matthew Filippa, 34, had previously lived for almost eight years. In February 2020, Rebecca, Matthew and their son Lincoln, aged three, headed to South Africa to visit Matthew's family, and later that month Rebecca flew back to China for work. Matthew and Lincoln were due to return to Shanghai on March 27, but as COVID-19 took hold, borders closed and Matthew’s company in China shut down, the pair no longer had valid visas. As a result, Rebecca needed to remain in China and keep her job, so that the family could stay afloat. She kept in touch with Lincoln via video calls but Rebecca found speaking to her young son through this format made it difficult to connect. So getting creative, she sourced two identical teddy bears by Heart 2 Heart, a non-profit helping children in rural China have heart surgery they wouldn’t ordinarily be able to have. One bear was sent to Lincoln and another remained with Rebecca. Lincoln took to calling his bear "Mama Teddy," which he carried everywhere and provided Rebecca with a way to connect with her son from afar.