My Velveteen Rabbit
I know this sounds crazy. But what can I say? It happened. My velveteen rabbit winked at me today. And it made me giggle out loud. I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. And you know what? Neither could he. He had a smirk that was sewn in. Had it always been that way? Maybe or maybe I hadn’t noticed. Perhaps the time had shifted his stuffing. Maybe he came to life for just a moment to say…
“I’ve been waiting. It took you long enough.”
It had taken me long enough. I see him almost every day. He sits on the loveseat in my office. I use him more for a pillow than anything else. He props my elbow up just right when I’m sitting with my computer on my lap. His story, The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams, is my favorite. When I was little, the book never made it back onto the shelf. I read it snuggled up on the worn chair in the living room, the one with lace on the armrests. At bedtime, I read it under the afghan made of multicolored yarn squares that Nonnie knit. I read it on long car rides to the farm, hoping I would see the rabbit on the side of the dirt roads.
Befriending a Skin Horse
I’m sure you remember the story. There is this young boy who received a stuffed velveteen rabbit for Christmas, and, in all the excitement and presents, the rabbit got set aside. In the nursery, the rabbit befriends the skin horse, who belonged to the boy’s dad when he was growing up. The rabbit asks the old horse why he is so worn and frayed. The skin horse shares he was so loved by the boy’s dad that he had become “Real”. The rabbit had so many questions. He wondered if the boy would ever love him so much. He wondered if he would become Real.
Soon the rabbit became one of the boy’s favorite toys. They played, imagined, and shared their days and nights together. The boy loved the rabbit so much. The rabbit was sure that he had become Real. Worn and frayed, the rabbit’s eye had less of a shine, but he was the happiest he had ever been.
One day, the boy became very ill, and his nurse took the rabbit and all the other toys in the nursery to the shed to rid the space of scarlet fever. To the rabbit’s surprise, with the help of the nursery magic fairy, he became a Real live rabbit, able to run and play in the forest with other wild rabbits. He never imagined this was even possible.
The rabbit watched the boy play in the yard as he grew. One afternoon, in the shadow of the shed, the boy saw the rabbit in the grass where they used to play together. He paused because the rabbit seemed so familiar and reminded him of his favorite toy. The rabbit wondered if he knew it was really him.
So, there it is, a beautiful story about being loved. I’ve had my old velveteen rabbit for years. My own kids played with him. I even told my kids how Real he had become. I loved him so much. He listened to all my stories, dried up all my tears, and flew high into the air when I threw him to celebrate all my successes.
I am sure, however, that he has never winked at me before, and he certainly did not have that smirk. I don’t even know why I looked at him today. Did he say something or cleared his throat to get my attention? Yes, I admit I am talking about a stuffed animal.
His story does ring true to me. Be Real, be the Real you.
…you might also enjoy reading about My Buddha’s Smile