Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Breathe {inspiration for wednesdays}

I was cleaning up the other day and came across my kids special bears...Pooh Bear and Radar.  Pooh Bear was actually a gift I gave to my dad when he was dying because he had always told me Winnie the Pooh stories when I was young.  He would always start them with "Bump, bump, bump...down the stairs goes Winnie the Pooh..."  After he died, my mom gave the bear back to me at a baby shower for our daughter.  I put it in her crib when she was young and she just grabbed on to him.  Pooh Bear has been a constant member of our family every since!

Radar was a gift to our son from our daughter.  When I was pregnant with him, I took her shopping one day to get a special gift for her new baby brother when he arrived.  She was very firm on the fact (as only 2 1/2 year olds can be) that her brother needed his own bear.  And so Radar appeared on the scene.  He has had his fur picked out by little fingers and needed quite a few patches over the years.  We call those patches "love boo boos".  His tie has been twirled, rubbed against cheeks and stuck in ears.  It has fallen off so many times and has had to be replaced once.

I kept the original tie....can't you just tell all the love it has gotten???  I hope someday, if he gets married, to put it in our son's boutonniere.  It isn't just the bride that can have "something old".

Anyway...picking up these bears and putting them back in their places on their respective beds, I was reminded of some words from the Velveteen Rabbit...

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day..."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....It doesn't happen all at once.  You become.  It takes a long time.  That's why it doesn't often happen to people 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."

As I type these words, I am reminded that it is often the messy, less-than-perfect, true to life events that are the parts of the story we remember.  And yet, when we go to take pictures, we want to match, look perfect, and have as few wrinkles as possible (spoken as one close-to-forty).  But what is Real?  Real is when our hair is out of place, our kids have a little lunch left on their faces, our husbands aren't wearing matching socks, and we have a few too many lines on our faces (that I swear were not there yesterday!). 

But those times are the exact times to capture in photographs.  They are Real...and real can't be ugly, except to those who don't understand!

"Breathe, smile and go slowly" - Thich Nhat Hanh

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