L’Dor vaDor

There’s a little bell singing from my daughter’s room tonight.  We got presents today, books for each of us, and she got The Velveteen Rabbit.Cover of "The Velveteen Rabbit" edition that I read tonight

So I read it before bed, and then I said, “I have something to show you.”  I rummaged around in my top drawer, and wondered for a while if I’d remembered wrong.  But no, it was there:  My Lambie, the stuffed animal that was most Real to me from somewhere younger than 5.

The pink of the ears is still visible in crevices where it hasn’t turned dingy grey, and his nose still shows a trace of pink.  The wires in his legs long ago migrated up into his body and the ends stuck out through holes in the seams; obviously he was meant to be posable once upon a time.  His body, of course, is all pilled up and greyish.  One ear was a little crumpled from being in my drawer so long.  But his bell is still on, a lovely little copper goat or sheep bell an inch wide, on the lavender ribbon that replaced the original pink satin one.  I only know that because a little bit of the pink satin is still tied around the bell.

And his expression is as sweet as always.  That’s my Lambie.  Or Lamby, I don’t really remember how I spelled it on the infrequent occasions I might have had to think about it.  Since I was Debby with a y, I will imagine it was Lamby with a y.

It’s odd to realize that my other children do not know about him.  Possibly first-arrived Son; I have a bit of a memory of letting him play with Lamby and taking him back pretty quickly when he got thrown around.  My new wife may or may not remember him, though I daresay she has seen him at least once.

He’s been there, for 6½ years in this house, nearly 13½ years we’ve been together, and who knows how long before that?  Behind the scarves and long-unworn knee socks, under the paper heart that Daughter made for us last year at Valentine’s Day (with the messages “Exercise,” “Eat healthy food,” and “Keep calm and carry on”), at the very back — there he was, right where I’d put him.

The little bell is so familiar, and I can’t complain: Of course she’s playing with him as she waits to fall asleep, and it’s ringing.  I am sure my parents must have heard the same.

L’dor va-dor — from generation to generation.