Emily has recently inherited a stuffed toy from her auntie. As my sister now lives in Australia, on her last visit she cleared out her old room at our parent’s house and gave bags and bags of stuff to charity. One particular item that our mum noticed poking out of the bag was this:
I’m not really sure what it is. It’s a sort of monster-zombie thing. It’s been sat under the bed for years and was destined for life on a charity shop shelf. My mum felt sorry for it; ‘no one will buy that poor ugly thing’, she said. So she rescued it from the bin liner of charity bric-a-brac, and gave it to Emily.
When it was handed to her, Emily took one look at it and exclaimed, ‘bunny!’, giving it a huge hug and tucking it under her arm to take it home.
Her reaction got me thinking. This toy is ugly, it’s unpleasant to look at and it’s a bit freaky. It’s doesn’t look like any of there other toys. But Emily didn’t see any of the ugliness, or any of the imperfections. She surmised it looked most like a bunny because of its ears, and she immediately adopted it into her growing family of stuffed toys.
It’s not that children don’t care about appearances or cosmetic differences, it’s that they genuinely don’t see them. The fact this ‘bunny’ is green, has one eye and a hanging-out tongue made no difference to her. She loves him just as much as the others.
It made me realise how much emphasis I put on aesthetics and appearance. Why do I do it? What purpose does it serve? My house could be ‘hygge-d’ to the max and beautifully designed, my hair could be perfectly coiffed and my skin immaculately spray-tanned, but none of this will ever matter to my daughter, because she knows that what is important is her ‘mum’, not what packaging her mum comes wrapped up in.
And so ‘Bunny’ will stay with us at our house, and I’ll always be quietly appreciative of the lesson that I learned from Emily adopting that little green monster-zombie. Now that’s a sentence I never thought I’d write!