A few months back my daughter brought me a book and asked me to read it to her. It was The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams and as we sat on the floor reading it together I couldn’t help but think of her brother and his bear. It’s a story about how certain toys becomes more than just toys. It’s about how the love of a person makes a toy Real. Not all toys reach this status, only the special ones that hold up against the test of time become Real. My daughter and I did not get very far into the book before she lost interest but we made it a few pages in where the new Velveteen Rabbit asks the very old and worn Skin Horse about what Real is.
“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.”
My mind did an instant flashback to countless moments over the last 2 1/2 years where I have been witness to my son’s bear being loved in very aggressive ways. In those moments I tend to think, “Poor bear.” However, after reading those few pages in The Velveteen Rabbit I figured that my boy’s bear must be Real at this point or at least well on his way so he probably doesn’t mind very much being dragged through the dirt, thrown in the air, left in the basement and peed on in the middle of the night. Twice.
I went back through some pictures recently and showed my husband a picture of O with his bear from when he was 1. My husband couldn’t believe that it was the same bear that we go searching for every. single. night. It’s like a special little game we get to play every evening only we’re not very enthusiastic players. I can’t help but chuckle though as I search the basement, car and play set. I know my dad would get a kick out of the fact that he picked out the perfect bear for our son and that the bear is so loved, just as he picked out the perfect bears for me and my siblings years ago.
This is O 2 1/2 years ago on his first birthday with his brand new bear.
Here is the present-day version of the same duo.
That bear, named Bear and often referred to as Beary, is no longer the charming, plush bear he started out as but I think he’s even more charming now with his bow rolled and mangled, his clumpy belly and scratched eyes. This bear has been a lot of places and I imagine he will go on many more adventures before O outgrows his attachment to his beloved toy. Here are some more pics through the past 2 1/2 years of my boy and his bear.
I too had a bear, Teddy, that I turned Real. My daughter now takes care him for me.
What was the toy or object that you loved and turned Real?