Passing the Rabbit

English: pg 25 of The Velveteen Rabbit.

I know I said a while ago that I wasn’t going to muck out clean the kids’ playroom ever, ever again unless applying lighter fluid and a pack of matches counted, but I lied, okay? I might be one of those people whose personal filing system involves geological strata instead of folders but even I like to be able to walk into a room without having to wear steel-toed boots and shin guards.

So that’s what I did most of Saturday, which means the muscles in the back of my legs feel like someone beat me with the two miniature souvenir baseball bats I unearthed two hours into the job, and the hockey stick I sat on a little later.

The kids did help, to their credit, which means I’ve also gone hoarse, as Sunny’s hearing is inversely proportional to her level of boredom.

But everything is mostly in order.

The final harvest this time was two bags for the landfill, three bags of recycling, two bags of donations, and a ridiculously large pile of stuffed animals and dolls I’m going to have to throw out, too, because they can’t easily be washed, disinfected, or repaired and The Velveteen Rabbit is a beautiful lie.

The mess didn’t break my spirit, but this is threatening to break my heart.

The books were easier to pare down than this mountain of formerly-loved creatures.

How can I throw out Carla Baby, gone gray and grubby with love?

How am I supposed to let go of the Pooh Bear that was bigger than Jane when he arrived and kept her safe? Sunny’s one-eared piggie? The Very Hungry Caterpillar whose fuzzy antenna were gummed off by two Very Hungry Babies?

How can I toss the adorable hedgehog with the sock on his head. . . wait.  I don’t have to.  He’s mine.  And the Honeymoon Haggis.  Don’t ask.

But how can I possibly give up my children’s childhoods?

I can’t.  I just can’t.

Which is why, at the age of forty-cough, I’ve started a Grandparent Box.

I will fill this box with the discarded bits and pieces that mean so much to me because they meant everything to my kids once upon a time.

And when my children grow up and I eventually and inevitably become another one of those discarded things, I will tell my children’s children the stories of the Grandparent Box  as they hug the ladybug pillow with the missing spots and kiss the orange nose of the snowman with the chewed buttons.

There is no doubt that in the fullness of time and in the venerable tradition of my people, I will also bring a box or two whenever I visit and hide them in closets or a corner of the garage when no one’s looking.

You know, just in case the Velveteen Rabbit magic needs a little more time . . .

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18 thoughts on “Passing the Rabbit

  1. You must never give away the treasures. I have my oldest son’s stuffed Piggy, who sits beside my writing chair with his little pig arms open wide and makes me smile every single day. Some things are worth the clutter.

    • Mom told me Dad was kind of upset about packing away my favorite toys when I left for college.

      He still sneaks ’em into our house at Thanksgiving, though.

  2. The stuffed-ups (as they are known in my house) fill two industrial garbage bags in the basement. Then there are the ten-fifteen each child insists they cannot live without. I keep thinking about having a yard sale but the idea of wasting a Saturday when I could be living, writing, doing anything else, terrifies me.
    I did, however, just list a few big things on Craigslist (if you see a bad news story about me, you’ll know it was a very bad idea…) and cannot believe how great I feel to move some things out of my house and into someone else’s…

    • Bamboo the FrankenPanda is almost more thread than fur around the neck—he’s on my monthly to-do list, and it’s always good to see him. 🙂

  3. Your Dad still has a box of his favorites of your things. Just wanted you to know that you have been sandwiched. You will have to get rid of my treasures some day when you dispose of all of my stuffed, noise-making friends.

    • You know, I asked him about that—I though Sunny might like to play with Mandy—but he seemed reluctant to hand it all over. Hmmm . . .

      Your noisemakers will be rendered batteryless until your grandchildren leave the house,at which time they will be evenly distributed. Just because I’m a sandwich doesn’t mean I don’t have a sense of self-preservation!

  4. “The kids did help, to their credit, which means I’ve also gone hoarse, as Sunny’s hearing is inversely proportional to her level of boredom.”

    And with one sentence you explained parenting better than a library full of books.

    No joke, I am in awe.

  5. I have a stuffed cat named Davy (after Davy Jones) whom my paternal grandma made for me in 1988. He’s grown yellow, thin, and frayed from age, while his “twin” sister Davina looks as plump and vibrant as the day she was made. He’s the most special stuffed animal I have. I even asked for him to be brought to me when I was in the hospital after a serious car accident nine and a half years ago. The nurses, once they saw him, could understand why I’d want him over something newer and cuddlier.

  6. Your first line here cracks me up. How many times have I mentioned/promised/referenced something I was about to do (or not do) in my real life, only to realize later that I had, in fact, lied my ass off. At least it’s unintentional? Also, the path to hell is paved with good intentions and all that.

    • Accidental lying seems to be a universal thing, Laura! 🙂

      And the road to hell is paved with mismatched Barbie shoes and stray Lego bricks . . . believe me.

  7. Now that you’re finished with your kids’ playroom, I wish you’d take a crack at the one in my house! I can’t give away my girls’ books or toys either. I’m at the point where I don’t want any new items brought into my house because nothing will ever leave.

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