Monday, May 11, 2009

Becoming REAL: Why I Feel Like 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."
Five Random Facts on Being a Mother
1. My first son was born while his father was flying missions in Vietnam,
and nearly twelve years later my second son came along and joined us...
so I have really had two distinct motherhoods!
2. I loved having a teen and a toddler...sort of like two only children... big brother loved dragging out all his classic Fisher-Price toys and Dr. Seuss books.
3. As I look through old photos, I recall the sweetest sound:
I can almost hear tiny feet thumping down the stairs in fleece sleepers
making a beeline to me for that good morning snuggle.
4. The hardest part of being a mother - the part that really HURTS- is knowing when I cannot interfere and that MY child may be hurt or disappointed
or betrayed or disillusioned no matter how much I love him.
5. My greatest joy is in celebrating each son's happiness,
his accomplishments, and his unique gifts to the world.
"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," said the Skin Horse.
"You become. It takes a long time...
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."

In the swing of things with Son #2

Outdoors with Son #1

High school senior, Mom, and kindergartner

Son #2 - May Day Program 1987

Even though I look at my younger self in these photos, and ask the inevitable, "How did these boys grow up so quickly as I grew older?" I just smile and remember my many, many, many happy hours, days and years spent with them. I embrace who I am today because of them and will enjoy our years yet to come!

"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.

from The Velveteen Rabbit
by Margery Williams

This post was inspired by yet another wonderfully rendered
meme posted by Willow of Life at Willow Manor
on May 10, 2009.


Maggie May said...

Those pictures are simply priceless.

Sandra Leigh said...

Oh, I know what book my granddaughter is getting for Christmas. I'm such a soppy old thing, I'll have to let someone else read it to her, though.

Your pictures are lovely, too. You have a beautiful family.

Derrick said...

Hello FireLight,

Nice to see you back again. Not long now 'til the vacations! I hope you enjoyed your Mother's Day.

Thistle Cove Farm said...

And just think...your two beautiful boys have "two mothers"...they each know you as a similar, yet different, person.
Happy Mother's Day and I love the 3rd grade photo. There's a similar one of me, somewhere, taken when I was six years old; it was then I knew I wanted to be a farmer...and now am one.
God is so good!

willow said...

This was a beautiful post. These photos of you and your sons are priceless!! It's been SO long since I've read The Velveteen Rabbit. Those bits of conversation with the Skin Horse are so poignant.

FireLight said...

Maggie, keep us posted on your baby project.

Sandra, it is a classic! We have to have it handy at Christmas and Easter!!

Derrick, I really miss out during the week. I have been READING posts, but not commenting as I would like to do. My last day with students is May 22, and graduation is the next day!

Thistle, that 3rd grader is my sister Sue who was five years older than I...I followed her everywhere. She was the outdoors girl, horse lover, and all round great sport. She died of multiple myeloma eight years ago. I miss her terribly. And yes-WE moms do change-I hope for the better.

Willow, thank you again for your creative, reflective, and very tender thoughts on your own precious family.

It is so good to hear from each of you!

Gaston Studio said...

What wonderful photos of your and your boys. My third child was born 9 years after my second, so I had almost the same situation as you. It as funny to see his sisters acting like his mother at times but, of course, I had to put a stop to that. One mother is definitely enough for any child!

Tom Atkins said...

I like the mix of the outtakes from The Velveteen Rabbit and your own story. All so true and a beautiful example of how literature and life intertwine.

Dear-Prudence said...

The Velveteen Rabbit is one of the stories I remember most from when I was younger. (I'm still not that old now! Only 20 haha). But it has still been quite awhile since I read it.

It is a beautiful story though and thanks for reminding me of it on your post!

Aunt Amelia's Attic said...

A lovely entry...

Thank you.

'Aunt Amelia'

Michael said...

Thank you for this M, I must look for the book to read to my grand daughter...shades of the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe?

FireLight said...

Michael, Thank you for not giving up on me! My posts have been sparse! THE VELVETEEN RABBIT is just one of those stories that works on both a child's level and a very profound adult level. It does have what is called "nursery magic" with stuffed animals that talk...I don't want to spoil it for you. Just read it! OR There is a beautiful DVD with Meryl Streep reading the story along with stills of the book's original illustrations. I adore it! This book would be an excellent choice for any matter what age! And....I have even known lovers who read it to one another.

Virginia said...

Oh you can move me to tears in a "Mobile minute"! Forgive me for not stopping by as often as I should. Your photos and your wondrous words are such a balm for my soul. I leave in a little over a week. I'll try and stop in while I"m gone. You can follow us on my Paris blog as well. I leave BADP in good hands. I have guest photographers and I will add posts if we get to spend July in France as well. I know how these last days of school are. It won't be long my friend! :)

Virginia said...

Well my friend, I'm bestowing a very nice award on you, given to me by WILDEVE. You may pass it along to others as you see fit. Visit my blog and get the details. I"m so clueless I can't put the link here! SORRY! Hugs,

Rowan said...

What a lovely post and beautiful photos of both Chelsea and your children. The book 'The Velveteen Rabbit' is one I've heard of but never read, it sounds such a nice book that I think it may be coming the way of my grandchildren.

altadenahiker said...

I came here via Virg, and you have a very lovely site. (Sue 3rd grade: I wore a cowboy outfit as a kid, complete with gun and holster. Used to tie up the little boy next door to a tree. He dressed up as a pioneer woman. Hmmm.)

FireLight said...

Glad you stopped by, AltadenaHiker! Yep, Sue who was older than I...would get me by the hand when it was time to go up to Santa Claus and say,"I want a cowboy outfit and get her the cowgirl outfit, and I want a cap gun and holster, and and a cowboy hat. Get her a doll, but I don't want no doll 'cause I have a pony!" And that pretty much settled that year's list!

altadenahiker said...

Excellent! Sue would have been my hero because she was a little tomboy with a pony. Life doesn't get much better than that.

Country Girl said...

The Velveteen Rabbit is one of my favorite books. And this is one of the most lovely posts I've read in awhile.
I couldn't find your blog, although I googled you and tried to look through my comments. Then I got smart and realized I had gmail. A quick search turned you up and now I have you on my sidebar for all time.

About Me

My photo
Recreational scholar, former high school and junior college English teacher. Animal lover (especially horses, dogs, and people), live in the South, sometimes poet and essayist... "Ireland, Scotland, Britain, and Wales...I can hear those ancient voices calling..." Van Morrison from Celtic Heartbeat