nicole fabian-weberDear Gray Bunny,

Hey buddy. How's it going? You're looking a little long in the tooth these days (even though you don't have any teeth), so I thought it might be nice to sit down and write you a letter, telling you how much I appreciate you. Don't worry! You're not being fired! I know, nobody ever randomly writes letters of appreciation these days, but when I walked by you this morning and saw my daughter (AKA, your owner) shoving raisins you clearly didn't want in your face after changing your 47th "poop diaper" of the day, I thought it might be a nice gesture. If you were old enough, I'd buy you a beer. I hear Dogfish Head makes a fantastic Wild Carrot Seed Ale.

And before we get into it, I just want to be clear here: No disrespect to Valentine Bunny, Pink Bunny, Yellow Bunny, Baby Bunny, or Baby here. They're all essential stuffies and dolls in my daughter's life and I'm confident that she thoroughly enjoys sleeping with each and every one of them every night. It's just ... you're the main man, Gray Bunny. (Unrelated: Have you seen Baby's clothes? The poor thing's been naked for two years now and I'm started to get concerned. But, I'm digressing. Okay, here goes ...)

You're woken up each morning to a light layer of drool coating your tiny black eyes, and that can't be pleasant, but you never as much let out a peep or an eye roll -- and that's a rare trait these days. And then, shortly after that, it appears from the monitor, you're either balanced on your owner's feet for an extended period of time, hidden under the sheet, or dressed in various female toddler clothes. (For the record, though, your fur-tone complemented those pink polka dot shorts like nothing I've ever seen. Stunning.) You're then singled out out of the group to make the trip up onto the changing table, which, let's be honest, isn't always the most calm and, ah, pleasantly-scented of experiences. And then it's downstairs we go.

Because I'm older and wiser, I can tell that you're still groggy and not in the mood to be tossed about, placed on top of the dog, or dangled by your feet, but you stay cool as a cucumber, never letting my daughter know that, "Hey, it's barely 7 a.m. Perhaps I'd like a moment to wake up." You're just there for her, because she loves you. And I love you for that. Oh, and thanks for being cool with being put in the sprinkler the other day. (And sorry that that's pretty much the only bath you've ever gotten in your life. My bad. I'll try to carve out some time for that.)

When it's 200 degrees out, you're always willing to take a ride in the stroller or a mosey on over to the park, even though the rest of your clique is relaxing comfortably in the cool, air-conditioned house. For what it's worth, though, my husband and I are thinking of asking them to contribute to the electric bill. I've seen Pink Bunny jack up the air when she thinks I'm not looking. Not cool, PB.

At night, when we're winding down, reading stories, and drinking milk, you're always there with us, Gray Bunny. And that's my daughter's choice. The way she likes life is with you firmly placed underneath her arm. And, fine, I secretly like it, too, because few images conjure up the sense of innocence more than a sweet toddler tightly clutching their lovey. When a family friend gifted you to my daughter when she was born, I thought you were quite cute, but I never in a million years thought you would be the one. It's funny how she singled you out out of a sea of plush toys and dolls.

There have been a few occasions when I've brought my daughter up to her bed for Act II of story time, and accidentally left you downstairs. "Where's Gray Bunny?" she'll softly, but seriously, say the moment her head hits the pillow. Then it's down we go to grab you, because the idea of spending the night without you is preposterous. I suppose, in ways I don't really know, you keep her safe during the night. She (knock wood) has always been a good sleeper at night -- maybe you have something to do with that? In fact, if you do have something to do with that, I'll totally take you out for a beer. A full night's rest supersedes bunny drinking age limits any day.

Sometimes I think about the times when my daughter won't need you as much, and in the spirit of being candid, it breaks my heart into a million pieces. Yes, I know, growing up is part of life, but, to be honest, I don't always want that. Is it, psychologically, the healthiest of mind-sets to be in as a parent? Not necessarily. But I just can't help but get weepy when I think of you packed up in a box when my daughter is asleep, as opposed to being tucked in right beside her. Right now, that just seems wrong.

I'm no dummy, though. I know this day will eventually come. And when it does, you and I will sit together and have a good cry over a carrot seed beer. Because, even though she may get on your nerves time and again now, I know that you'll miss it, too. 

nicole fabian-weber

Does your child have a lovey?