Does it hurt to be real?

After Bridget's letter yesterday about keeping it real (see post below), I kept hearing a snippet from the Velveteen Rabbit running around my busy brain: Does it hurt to be real? Finally I had to go look it up & I didn't have the line exactly right but I loved the refresher:

The Skin Horse had lived longer in the nursery than any of the others. He was so old and most of the hairs in his tail had been pulled out to string bead necklaces. For nursery magic is very strange and wonderful, and only those playthings that are old and wise and experienced like the Skin Horse understand all about it.

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came 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 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."

"I suppose you are real?" said the Rabbit. And then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive. But the Skin Horse only smiled.

"The Boy's Uncle made me Real," he said. "That was a great many years ago; but once you are Real you can't become unreal again. It lasts for always."

The Rabbit sighed. He thought it would be a long time before this magic called Real happened to him. He longed to become Real, to know what it felt like; and yet the idea of growing shabby and losing his eyes and whiskers was rather sad. He wished that he could become it without these uncomfortable things happening to him.

~ Margery Williams

I think when I read it as a wee one, I thought it described friendship. At this point it pretty much sums up my parenting experiences lately: sometimes magical, sometimes shabby (which reminds me of the time when Sam was 4 and he said "Mom! you have two smile lines under your eyes!" Thanks, buddy.) But worth it, definitely worth it. I wouldn't change being Real for anything. But I think I'll take measures so my hair doesn't get rubbed off.

And now, I'm off to the Apple store for a little spa treatment for my poor battered Clementine. A little piece of her edge broke off yesterday & I feel awful about the abuse she has suffered at my hands. Talk about becoming Real!