So this year’s Christmas Day is dwindling to a close. All my rantings of a week ago that many were kind enough to “like” and others to ignore have taught me (again) a very important thing. Anxiety, worry, doubt do nothing for whatever it is that causes the worry. What it does is steal that precious moment in time, and the next, and the next, until you are shaken out of the the potential joys of that moment. And those moments are lost. And whatever foggy stupor you have allowed to cloud that future thing that has you so worried prevents you from living the realness of those lost moments.
My son and I sat in the quiet for a very short time together this evening, his last evening of his visit here. He is propelling himself into the future portion of his holiday trip, the remaining visits they will make before returning home. I sensed his mild unease at my stillness as I soaked in his presence which is so rare for me now.
Did he remember a book he had when he was little, I asked, “The Velveteen Rabbit”?
Yes, he replied.
Was it the horse or the bunny who asked what it was like to be real, I wondered.
The bunny, he said.
So I looked it up.
“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”
“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.
“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”
“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”
“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
“I suppose you are Real?” said the Rabbit, and then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive. But the Skin Horse only smiled.
“The boy’s uncle made me Real,” he said. “That was a great many years ago; but once you are Real you can’t become unreal again. It lasts for always.”
So lovely, brilliant, healthy, attractive, charming child of mine, always know that you are Real. Forever. Nothing and no one can ever take it away. You are greatly loved, by One who will never leave you.
And I will try hard to remember it, too.
The Velveteen Rabbit, by Margery Williams Bianco. George H. Doran Co., Publishers. 1922.