Yesterday we started getting Real round here....
Vin's 14 now, and while he's not turned into a streetwise tearway out boozing and creating havoc, he is slowly becoming more the teenager/young adult than the kid he still was this time last year.
Yesterday we started putting things away. Things he doesn't need anymore. Stuff that he's too old for and has decided he doesn't want in his room anymore.
Until recently, most of his stuff has just stayed in there, in boxes, undisturbed and harming no one by being in the corner. Action figures, games, old toys, stuff like that. But yesterday we thought we'd get his Dad to put it all up in the loft coz he's really never going to want any of it again; but we do have other small boys in the family who one day might.
We were fine til we got to the bedtime boys, who actually, weren't even IN his room. They were in MY room, coz Vin doesn't want them in there when his mates come to stay, and they've been in there for weeks... just sitting on the side, you know... since last time.
Anyway. I suppose I started it. I had a black bag... and I started to pick up the boys to put them in.... and I couldn't.... I held those animals and hugged them. Kissed them all, arranged them so everyone was hugging someone else - as if that would make them feel less abandoned, and I even managed to get the two nut brown hares into the bag, along with Fuzz and Mutzi... but when it came to bubbear and Jose-hola... well, I just couldn't do it.
I held bubbsie's old threadbare body and looked at his squashed lopsided face and I couldn't do it. The lump in my throat just got too big and I was bawling... crying for the memory of all those nights he'd made Vin feel safe, and loved him and been his best bear. I cried into Jose-hola's skinny knitted body, and held him tight, remembering that before Vin loved him, he'd always slept on JenJen's bed in spain, and she'd loved him too. A sad old knitted Golly, falling to pieces, but someone so loved, and once so needed.
How could I fling them in a bag and put them away in a cold dark place...?
"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 happen often 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 your 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."
-- by Margery Williams, from The Velveteen Rabbit
Well, then I set Vin off... and Carlos. We looked at each other, and I slowly took them all out of the bag.
We don't need to get that Real yet....
The bedtime boys can live in my room for now.
Just in case the skin horse has got it wrong and they do mind being hurt....