Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Stuffed Animals and What is Love

Thelma is the "blond" on the left and Ina is the "blond" on the right.

One of my favorite books for children is the Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams Bianco. I read this to my kids when they were babies and I have even used it in group sessions when I worked in Psych. I am in the process of going thru many many stuffed animals that I have purchased for both my kids and many that have been given as gifts. My son tells me that I am a pack rat. He may be right but I figure as long as you can walk thru my house unimpeded then I cannot be the star of the reality show about the hoarders. I was initially devastated when I realized that they had cleaned out the closet in my middle bedroom. That closet had most of my saved stuffed animals that I had earmarked for future grand kids. My "treasures" and their associated memories did not mean to him what it meant to me. All the animals were stuffed in garbage bags and relegated to my dining room to be given or thrown away. On the top of one bag was "Thelma" and next to her was "Ina". Both were home made and named after Becky's grandmas who had gifted them to her when she was about 3. She wouldn't go to sleep without both of the dolls next to her. They are stained and missing clothes but they were greatly loved. Seeing them in the bag, discarded, broke me up. I cried all the way to work. I knew that I was being ridiculous and that I had to go through the bag to choose what would be kept and what would be thrown. As the days have gone by I have been able to at least separate the sentimental favorites from the ones that I would not miss. Becky will have to come over and go thru it all and make choices as well. Looking at Ina and Thelma reminded me of the segment in the Velveteen Rabbit about what is "Real". Please take the time and read the excerpt.


"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."
— Margery Williams Bianco (The Velveteen Rabbit)

Yes I have saved momentoes from my kid's(and my)childhood and I am going though them all to downsize. But I remain a very sentimental woman who looks at items from the past as touchstones to fond and loving memories. I will not apologize to anyone for that.

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