A tail of friendship
This column first appeared in the Midland Reporter-Telegram
This is a tail of love and friendship, the love story of my boy and his Bunny — BFFs you might say.
Bunny poses for a rare portrait.
Bunny hopped into our lives two years ago, an Easter gift from Momma Mary. He was so sweet to look at, plush and robin’s egg blue with big brown eyes and a pink nose. Dapper in his own way, Bunny carried a big yellow flower and rocked his organza bow. When you squeezed his foot, Bunny would break into a rousing rendition of “Here Comes Peter Cottontail,” waggling his ears back and forth.
Well past bedtime, you could hear Bunny singing and Little Son giggling. Bunny went everywhere with my son, and they absolutely could not sleep without each other.
Pound of Flesh
As previously documented, Little Son has a serious thing for fuzz, and I am starting to worry he is going to end up on the TV show My Strange Addiction. Now that I think about it, it all started with Bunny. Son would curl up with his bedtime bottle, Bunny safely strangled in the crook of his arm. When the bottle emptied, the plucking began. His little fingers would creep up and furiously start to pinch and rip out Bunny’s soft blue hair. Then, Little Son would stuff the fuzz into his mouth, chewing on the wad of Bunny fuzz.
The toll started to show on Bunny, and Momma Mary pronounced him gross at a family dinner. After being doused in red Fanta, he does look a bit mangy — with bald spots on his right arm, back, legs and all along his tummy. One ear is permanently bent from being used as a handle, his cottontail now is just a sad bald nub. I say Bunny looks well loved.
Like some winter wonderland, my living room floor now is covered in white fuzz clumps. Seems Little Son now is gutting Bunny. Why, Little Son, why must you do this? Pudgy hand thrust deep inside Bunny and a look of pure ecstasy on his face, his reply is simple. “Because it feels sooooooo soft!”
The less stuffing Bunny has, the more noise his battery housing box and plastic parts make. Bunny’s plastic-on-plastic noise serves as a kind of alarm bell at 3 a.m. in a “brace for impact” kind of way. For a split second you can hear Bunny arcing through the air as he swings onto the bed, usually smashing into Daddy Man’s head with Little Son close behind.
A Legend in His Own Mind
One of the things I love most about Bunny is his capacity to dream big. He hasn’t let a little thing like no innards slow him down. Just last week, he scampered off to Starbucks for coffee with friends. When Daddy Man went to pick him up from his playdate, Parksalot was a little put out that Bunny smelled of caffe Verona . We are extra careful with the car keys here, too — Bunny likes to joyride. More than once, Hubster has retrieved Bunny from the back seat of the car at bedtime. He will slam the back door and hop Bunny down the hall, his plastic-on-plastic footsteps unmistakable. Daddy Man loudly will question Bunny about his whereabouts, and Little Son eats it up with a spoon. Little Son believes Bunny is magic, and we are not the ones who are going to dispel that notion.
Over time, Bunny’s dance transformed into a lurching herky-jerky kind of thing. Now he has lost his dance moves and voice completely. But the friendship continues. I asked Little Son why he loves Bunny so much. He looks at me and shrugs, “because he loves me.”
Ask anyone who knows me, I am not Crafty Mom. But I think I need to get into Doc McStuffins mode and soon. “He doesn’t look so good, Mom,” Little Son remarked last week whilst worming his stuffing-seeking hand into Bunny’s head. I guess I should stop referring to Bunny as a skin sack and bag o’ bones. I have been trying to make this situation a teachable moment. After all, I am nearing 40 with young children and feel a little like a bag o’ bones myself some days. Moreover, I want him to see even though something doesn’t look brand new or is a bit frayed on the edges, it still has value.
In my mind’s eye — you know, the one where I am 40 pounds thinner, wearing Louboutins and hosting his Martha Stewart-esque rehearsal dinner — I will charm guests with a film montage of my greatest motherhood moments. I will show pictures of his numerous trophies and state championships, his letter of acceptance to Princeton, his first recording contract and perfect black and white candids. Undoubtedly, the film will play to the sweeping piano concerto he composed in junior high school. Bunny will of course be in the center of things, perhaps in a special centerpiece Martha designed just for him. Then, when the moment is just right, Bunny will turn his un-stuffed head to me, smile and say, “My, my, Momma. What a fine job we did.”
In the real world though, I hate to diet and gave up heels three years ago. I will hunt down a bag of stuffing and some Super Glue, and my son will continue to be a smart, happy, imaginative child with a broke-down Bunny best friend. During dinner, Little Son has picked up Baby Girl’s dropped fork, blown it off (the three second rule is in full effect here), and handed it back to her with sweet words of encouragement. My husband turns his head to me, smiles and says, “My, my, Momma, what a good job we’re doing.”