Saturday, May 9, 2015

{Miss Maylin} Becoming Real

This is Manni Bear. Say hello! He has been Maylin's naptime, bedtime, nighttime, teepee time partner and overnight travel companion her entire life. 

Right now, he's sitting on the edge of the bathtub. Can you tell? That's because, during nap time, he was involved in an unfortunate incident in which Maylin accidentally soaked his darling feet in tee tee. Maylin, not prone to waking up on sopping wet sheets, was traumatized about the accident. Really, she woke up screaming. So I calmed her down and cleaned her up and striped her bed and she resumed her nap. And Manni Bear came downstairs with me.

This potty training business, y'all. I mentioned on my Instagram this was one of my great fears of mothering a toddler. I have to admit it hasn't been that bad. But it's been long. And repititious. And a commitment for both me and Maylin. And it's not over yet! {Insert large grin emoji here} Although I do think I can see a light at the end of the tunnel. I think. A small, small light. 

So, anyway, it's after 8:00 PM and I'm scrubbing Manni Bear's darling feet with hot water and lots of suds and I'm thinking about how soft and clean and new his fur was up until this point. I'm wondering, as I soak and scrub and rinse and wring, if he will feel as soft or look as new as he had before. I know he won't. He will be clean again, yes. But he won't be like new again. And that thought makes me sad.

It stops me, this thought. And I just sit there, with Manni Bear driping water all down the side of the tub, and look at him, and think about all he will experience as the bedtime companion of a little girl. All the tears, the sweat, the drool, and yes, probably more tee tee. But that's part of it, isn't it? That's the cost of being the beloved stuffed friend of a child. It will just make her love him all the more for it.

I know, you see, because my own stuffed childhood bear is my most precious, irreplacable possession. When I think about saving things from house fires, he is number one. I'm in fact so terrified of losing him to a fire that I pack him in my suitcase whenever we go on overnight trips. Strange for a grown woman? Yes. I am aware of this. Also, unashamedly not sorry.

This whole experience scrubbing up Manni Bear and tossing him in the dryer on the delicate cycle so he can be loved tightly against Maylin's warm little body made me remember this passage from The Velveteen Rabbit. Remember it? Probably the most defining paragraphs ever written in regards to the identity of a child's toy.

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit...
"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... 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 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."

So yes, Manni Bear's fur will be a bit more coarse, not as lustriously shiny, and perhaps a few threads fewer, but that will only serve to define him as Maylin's favorite bear. Manni Bear, welcome to life.

No comments:

Post a Comment