Like (hopefully) millions of children around the world, part of Cohen’s bedtime routine involves being read books. He has graduated from the cardboard-it-is-ok-if-you-chew-them kind (although occasionally The Little Engine That Could gets chosen for bathroom reading) and he no longer wants to read Danny the Dinosaur every.single.night. In hopes that we could start diving into some meatier and more meaningful bedtime reads, last week I uncovered my giant Narnia storybook. Cohen was over the moon excited until I was a page or so in and there were only little inset pictures among all the words. “Mommy, I am not big enough yet for this book,” he said with a shrug. “I don’t think you are either,” I said sadly, matching his tone.
Instead we read about a tiny dinosaur.
Neither one of us was too impressed.
So last night we were digging through the two shelves of Cohen’s books in the sitting room and I came across an all-time favorite: The Velveteen Rabbit. I loved the book so much that at some point in college I bought a beautifully illustrated copy for myself. This was the copy we found. It had a lot more words than the book about the undersized t-rex and had some words Cohen did not know, but it felt like a good compromise between toddler reads and C.S. Lewis.
He was mesmerized. When I finished the last page, he took the book from me, and started to read it to David and I. I never cease to be amazed by how much initial recall Cohen has. He is a sponge… tell him the story once or explain how something works just once and he’s got it. As the pages turned, in his little dutchy voice he told us about the bunny who was loved by a little boy until one day the “bairy tale” (aka, the fairy- we worked hard to suppress our giggles on that one) kissed him and made him a real rabbit with back legs.
I came down the stairs this morning, let the dogs out for their morning sniff-a-thon, started the coffee, and flipped on the light in the sitting room. My beautifully illustrated, oversized copy of The Velveteen Rabbit was still sitting on our white leather couch. This morning I wanted to share with you the passage of the first children’s book to ever make me cry (pre-Co, right? everything makes me cry now) and which would have had me in tears again last night, save Cohen calling the fairy a “bairy tale” *grin*..
“What is REAL?” the Rabbit asked the old Skin Horse one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came in to tidy the room. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”
“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.”
“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”
“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have t 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 t people who don’t understand.”
So, here’s to being real on this Monday morning, no matter how shabby we are:)
Love you guys…
SOME TIDBITS TO CHEW ON:
-Post coming in a day or so on the topic of how to deal with grace junkies in our lives and churches. Want to hear your thoughts on that one, friends…so keep your eyes peeled.
–The Great Ornament Exchange is still open for another two weeks! We’ve currently got more than 100 participants, but have room for more… invite your friends!
-Do any of you remember Engage the Journey 2008? A group of us read through the Bible chronologically in one year… guess what?!?! We’re fixing to do it again! All new website to be done soon! More details coming!
-And guess what else? New website for me coming soon too 🙂