Have you ever read The Velveteen Rabbit? This wonderful little book is about
toys, memories, and wishes, but most of all, it’s about being
A little toy Velveteen Rabbit is loved and treasured so much
by a little boy that, as the “Skin Horse” says, “Real
isn’t how you are made. 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.”
Right after we started our infertility treatments, Denise found
a “deluxe special package” containing a copy of the book as
well as an actual Velveteen Rabbit, probably about the same
size as intended in the story. The box had a plastic cover wrapped
with ribbon so you could see what was inside.
Instead of opening it, Denise said, “That’s for our first child.
I want our baby to have a Velveteen Rabbit, so that they can
make it real.” So the box
went into the closet, and as the years went by, I more or less
forgot about it.
Friends were still aware that we enjoyed the book, and during
our infertility struggle I personally got a nice hardback copy
from a close friend, signed “For the Kid in You.”
Even that was years ago, and strangely enough, I never
read that copy of the book until tonight. Reading it is painful
to me, because it reminds me that we don’t have children to
make velveteen rabbits real.
We’ve moved quite a few times over the last few years. Recently,
I made a promise to myself to go through each and every last
box and to throw away all of the junk we haven’t used. As I
was performing this task, a knot began to well up in my throat.
Old memories. Items that had been put aside
and forgotten. Denise’s little velveteen rabbit came
to mind, and I knew what
would be contained in the very next box …, a half-crushed package,
covered by a cracked plastic cover.
Abandoned, without an owner, the rabbit would still be waiting.
Waiting to be used. Waiting to be loved. Waiting to be real.
* * *
Strangely enough, I got to the last box, and never found it.
Yet I knew it had not been discarded, but had survived every
single move. When I mentioned it to Denise that night in bed,
she got out of bed without saying a word, opened her clothes
closet, and pointed way up top to a box, which loudly proclaimed
on the side, “Love makes you real.”
I climbed up on a stool and carefully took the box down. Rather
than being crushed and bent, the box was in perfect condition,
but still, never opened.
“Do you want to open it?” asked Denise.
“No.” I answered. Carefully, I placed the unopened box back
into the top of her closet.
There, the rabbit still waits.
“And while the Boy was asleep, dreaming
of the seaside, the little Rabbit lay among the old picture-books
in the corner behind the fowl-house, and he felt very lonely.”
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