Through the Looking Glass...A personal favorite

A while back I read The Velveteen Rabbit to my son. I sat down and wrote it in my journal while it was still fresh in my mind. My hope is that hearing this encourage you.

This past Tuesday night I took the time to read The Velveteen Rabbit to Ben. This night was different because Ben did not fall asleep during the story. Normally, he would gather up his rabbit, crawl into bed with me and be fast asleep before the middle of the story.

I must take a moment and share a little about Ben or this story will lose its impact. He is the last of four children. I tease that our third child, Kaelyn, is our last but God had other plans for our family and our life would not be the same without Ben. Since birth he attached himself to two things…his thumb and a blue, silk stuffed rabbit. Ben is now five and has willingly given up his thumb but rabbit is his “true blue” friend. Rabbit goes everywhere with Ben and of course rabbit shows all the wear and tear of a boy’s love.

With this understanding, you can see why The Velveteen Rabbit would be such an incredible story to read to Ben. This particular night his attention was focused on the boy in the story. He realized right away that he (Ben) was the boy and rabbit was his rabbit. As the story took life in Ben’s imagination, he quickly showed signs of concern for the rabbit, all the while holding his rabbit just a little closer. The boy said he thought his rabbit was a real rabbit and Ben proclaimed that he, too loved his rabbit just as much. We continued reading…the boy grew sick and the rabbit stayed close. Tears welled up in my 5 year old's big, brown eyes. “Mommy, why is the boy sick?” he questioned. I assured him we needed finish the story and all would be understood. The boy began to get better. That is when the nanny determined that the velveteen rabbit must be burned in order to keep the boy healthy.

Tearfully my son pleaded, “But he loves his rabbit.” I wrapped my arms tighter around Ben and rabbit and told him that everything would okay. “But Mommy, will the boy ever see his rabbit again?” Ben questioned. “Keep listening Ben. It will all be answered.” I continued to assure him. He hung on to every word longing to hear how the boy would be reunited with his rabbit.
As we finally finished the book, Ben paused and then his little heart burst open. He held his faithful blue friend in his arms, noticing for the first time how much he loved his rabbit. His rabbit is a bluish gray color now. His pink nose is faded and the whiskers are long gone. There is no fluff to his body anymore. And his fluffy white tail is nothing more than a dingy spot on the bottom of his limp body. Ben saw his love and friendship in that old, worn-out bunny. And then through his sobs he pleaded that his bunny should not have to go away and become real. He was heartbroken over the sad truth that these two friends would be changed forever. He was the boy in the story of The Velveteen Rabbit. He understood the bittersweet ending to this classic story.
For me, this is the very definition of a living book. We didn’t have story time Tuesday night, we lived story time instead


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