**This is my January post for Emlyn Chand's twelve month book challenge on the books that made us fall in love with reading***
Right before Christmas break from school my youngest son, D, asked me if I had "seen" the Velveteen Rabbit. We were driving home from school and I am used to his chatter about the day, but this was different. He was captivated by the movie version they had seen. (At nine he is somewhat "younger" than his classmates due to his learning disabilities) I told him not only had I seen the movie, I had read the book. "Don't you remember reading it at bedtime when you were little?" He looked at his older brother and than me before he responded. "Yah I think I do. Can we read it again? Do you remember how the fairy comes and the bunny becomes real?" The ride home turned into a literary discussion on the merits of the Velveteen Rabbit, with the boys pointing out that I should write a children's book next time.
So when I joined Emlyn's reading challenge I used it as an excuse to dig out the Velveteen Rabbit and snuggle down and read it with D. It brought back memories not only of reading it to my boys when they were toddlers, but how I read it many times myself into my teen years. Just as my oldest son still keeps the ragged dog he slept with as a baby hidden under his pillow on his double bed. I have my oldest and most ragged looking bear sitting on my dresser. (His head sown back on so many times it's permanently crooked.) Most of us have links to our childhood. And just like the well worn Velveteen Rabbit, they become "real" to us.
In it's simplicity the book teaches us the meaning of being real. The importance of loving someone unselfishly. And the act of trust.The rabbit trusted all he knew, and trusted that the boy's love would make him real. Just tonight it sparked a conversation with D on why the boy was sick and how come he had to be separated from his toy. And as I tucked him in he nervously leaned over and asked me "Does love really make things real?" "Yes" I told him, "Love makes life worth being real." Even with all the pain love brings, I still believe it's what makes life worth living.
"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, than 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." The Velveteen Rabbit By Margery Williams
This book was as wonderful as I remember it. And sharing it for what just might be the last time with my boys, who are fast approaching pre-teen angst, made it even more wonderful. Take your own journey through the books that made you love reading.