Monday, May 24, 2010

Barbie and me....and the velveteen rabbit

I just came to a sobering realization. Barbie and I are the same age. This just doesn't seem right. If we are the same age, how come she's not going grey, fighting middle age weight gain, trying to minimize wrinkles, and sagging in places she'd really rather not sag? I have to wonder, is she getting junk mail from AARP like I am? Does she get spam trying to sell her a Hover-round? Has she received offers for low cost burial policies? I don't think so!!!

No, Barbie is sporting around in her new car while I count coins so I can put gas into my van. All she has is a cute carry one bag to toss in the back while she and Ken go off on another adventure. I push the homework papers, fast food cups, and kid's backpacks out of the way just to get in! No wonder she never ages.

But I'm not Barbie. (I know, I'm as shocked as you are!) I wake up and my hair is NOT perfect, there are circles under my eyes, and if you're smart you won't talk to me until after my second cup of coffee. I go off to a job that I love, but that is filled with mundane paperwork, sometimes disrespectful children, and endless stress. I wear hand-me-down clothes (sometimes from my daughter's closet) and come home to a house that always seems to need cleaning. I have less than perfect children, dogs that sometimes pee in on the floor, and a husband that watches racing, hunting shows, and old westerns. My life is not filled with adventures and romance. It is filled with struggles and even some disappointments....and I wouldn't trade with Barbie for anything in the world.

The grey in my hair hopefully signals at least a little wisdom. My less than perfect children make me laugh, cry, pray, pray, pray, and give me more joy than I knew was possible. My husband is my friend...not everyone can say something like that. He makes me laugh and stands by me - even in the morning. In fact, he gets up first and makes the coffee! And the dogs....well, I still wish they didn't pee on the floor, but even they are such loveable mutts they make me feel like I'm far more worthy of their love than I know I am.

I'm not Barbie; I'm real. I'm getting older and much to my dismay, it shows. There are wrinkles from laughing, and a few from worry. There are aches and pains that I'm pretty sure plastic never feels. I've been living life now for over 50 years and there have been a few bumps along the way, and everyone has left a mark or two.

I guess I'd like to be "holding up" as well as my plastic counterpart, but I'm not. I'm not even holding up as well as many other 50 year olds I know. Still, I am alive....and hopefully, I am real. Being alive and real hurts sometimes, but it really is worth it. This brings to mind a passage from a well known story, The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams :

 "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."

I want to be real, even if it means I'm not as perfect as Barbie. I'm pretty sure I'd rather be a rabbit any day.


Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Prov. 31:30

1 comment:

Jennie said...

Once again...Nailed It!
You know ... Sometime between '89 & '92 ('91 I think) at a Ladies' Brunch @ GT you spoke great encouragement that continues on in my life & gifted each of us with a Bookmark containing this excerpt from The Velveteen Rabbit! Still have it! Use it! Have made multiple similar bookmarks & gifted many times, have also had requests to make for others.
Love Barbie, too, but honestly, my relatability has more a bent to the Skin Horse...JS