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Happy Birthday Purple Bunny…

June 8, 2013

It all begins with a story.

Once upon a time, we were in Kohls and my son spotted a simple purple stuffed rabbit. He wanted it. I said no. He had a tantrum and I said I wouldn’t put up with that type of behavior and dragged him out of the store. At the time, he had about one hundred stuffed animals and he didn’t need another one.

But purple bunny stuck in his head. He asked about that bunny every day for three full weeks. And finally I surprised him. I went out with my coupon and bought it. That bunny became one of his most important items.

We’ve had purple bunny for five years now. He’s ragged, tired, and his ears don’t stick up any longer. His fur is worn. He is well loved and exactly like Rabbit from The Velveteen Rabbit. He is real. He goes to school with my son, and has become the second grade mascot.

My son declared purple bunny’s birthday in June so when I visited the classroom for a reading day, the kids asked if we could have a birthday party for purple bunny at the end of the year. The teacher agreed, stating through this animal, the kids created wonderful adventures. My son would dream up stories about where purple bunny travelled – from the high seas as a Pirate to a karate champion, there were no limits.

So, I agreed. And this week I went into the classroom with a big chocolate cake and candles. The words Happy Birthday Purple Bunny were scrawled in purple. The children sang to him – seems he’s ten years old. And the joy and laughter on their faces was priceless.

They gave the bunny gifts. Made paper hats, and created envelopes with money. Purple bunny made out with over $1,000. And as I spoke to my son’s teacher, we agreed that sometimes a bit of the mystical and innocence of children is key to learning. There are only so many standardized tests we can cram down their throats, or pull apart every sentence of a book until the magic is gone. We had purple bunny reading day, where everyone brought in their fave animals and a fave book and we read. And as I looked at my son’s face, with his two front teeth finally grown in, his round face lit up with a big grin that is his trademark, I knew these years were priceless. They slipped away so fast, and damned if I wasn’t going to enjoy every last moment of it.

So, yes, we had a party for a stuffed bunny. And it was the best day ever, as my son said.

Once again, I am reminded that everything begins with a story. How we purchased purple bunny. How out of numerous animals he became special. How he affected our family by giving us love and laughs and memories.

This is how are families are created.  And our books. That germ of an idea that seems simple can become priceless. Anything can be magical and mystical with a little love, creativity, and thought.

I wish that for everyone today.

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  1. Kelly says:

    Awww, that was so sweet. Those moments are priceless and I totally agree about the tests and magic and, well, all of it! Thanks for sharing

  2. Gloria T says:

    It’s amazing how one small thing can have such a huge affect on how the story of our lives and the lives of others plays out. I can’t help wondering if that story would have gone completely different with the change of a minor detail. For example, what if you DID buy that bunny the same day, right after your son had his temper tantrum? Maybe the bunny wouldn’t have been as important to him and after a week or so he just put it with the rest of his stuffed animals. Each minor detail of our lives affects how the story goes. Just something to think about. Thank you so much for sharing!

    • Jennifer says:

      Hi Gloria! I love what you said – it’s so true. Every detail leads us on a specific path, no matter how small. That is what makes life so interesting! thanks for reading!

  3. Rebecca Almanza says:

    What a wonderful story…it is great that you support the magic of your son and his classmates.

  4. Lori Coco Bantel says:

    What a beautiful story!! It’s so true. I teach first grade and I’m always coming up with ways to make reading come alive for children!!! We have to give test after test too, but that’s not what reading is to me. My students love devouring real books and their reading and test scores improve as a result. I wish purple bunny
    many more birthdays!!! 🙂

    • Jennifer says:

      Thank you Lori! I love hearing that from a teacher – you must have so many wonderful stories to tell yourself!!

  5. Ginny Winfree says:

    My daughter is 36 years old. She was given a stuffed pink elephant when she was three by one of her uncles. She promptly dubbed her new friend with the very unique name, Pinky. Even to this day, Pinky still rests on her bed. He went to college and law school. He went to her new home when she married. The husband didn’t last, but Pinky is still there. When I read your story, it made me smile. Pinky is indeed an integral part of our family as is your Purple Bunny.

  6. Nickie Adler says:

    I loved the true story of Purple Bunny! My daughter is 25 now and it those moments seem like they happened so long ago.

    • Jennifer says:

      I know Nickie, that’s why I wanted to write about it, I don’t want to forget because they grow so fast!

  7. Linda Bordonaro says:

    I love this story! My daughter had a pink hippo named Huey, and he is in almost every picture we took of her for years. When she moved out, and in with her fiance, Huey went with her.

  8. Holly Epperson says:

    Loved your story about your son and the purple bunny. Just wanted to say don’t sweat the small stuff because soon they re grown. My two are on their way to college.

    Take care.

  9. Sandy Bon Durant says:

    I worked in an elementary school library for almost 16 years. Before that was
    an educational assistant for 21 years working with grades from first to third
    grades. Have always loved children’s books. Loved reading to them, had many
    favorite ones over the years. Gave gifts of books to my grandkids over the years.
    They too loved reading, how great is this. Loved to watch their faces, when I
    read, their wonderful questions about the book, to just get lost in a book says
    it all. What a great time and story you just shared, such wonderful memories
    too. Thanks

    • Jennifer says:

      Hi Sandy! I’m so glad you enjoyed the story and I bet being with those kids and books for so many years, you have your own fantastic stories to share! Thanks tons for stopping by!

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