My oldest daughter had a very small stuffed rabbit with very long ears. She loved him very, very much, chewed occasionally on his ears, and took him everywhere. I can't remember where he came from, and I don't know why she became so attached to him, but he was certainly an important fixture in her life.
At some point, the rabbit got lost and though we looked high and low for him, he simply could not be found. M dealt with this fact bravely, but it was clear he was always there in the back of her mind. She might be getting ready for bed, and suddenly start crying because she was thinking of him, or stop whatever she was doing and proclaim, out of the blue, that she missed him and worried about him, wherever he might be. We tried to reassure her, suggesting that perhaps he'd finally become real, as the Velveteen Rabbit had, from being loved so much. Months went by, and numerous searches, for none of us were quite ready to fully give him up. But the truth was, that rabbit was simply gone.
Recently, M and G were on a walk with their dad, and M picked up a dandelion and blew it, scattering its seeds into the wind. Her father asked her if she'd made a wish. She had, she said, but didn't want to tell what it was, because she really, really wanted it to come true. G asked her if she'd wished for her rabbit, and M burst into tears. Clearly he would forever remain on her mind.
But here's the really weird thing. This morning, while the girls were playing in G's room, their dad wandered upstairs and there, in the middle of the bedroom floor, was a very small rabbit. He brought it to her, still foggy from sleep and certainly confused, and asked her if it was her beloved friend. She looked up and burst into tears.
Where in God's name had it come from?
Obviously, our first inclination was to ask G if she'd found the rabbit and brought it to M, because M had no idea how it had come to be on her bedroom floor. It's a conclusion that makes perfect sense to any parent, I guarantee you. But G insists she knew nothing about it. Now I'm not naive, and G has been known to try out a half-truth or two, but she always caves within minutes and admits her guilt. And in this matter, she wouldn't -not to me, or to her dad. She has so certainly and steadfastly proclaimed her innocence that it is problematic for us to press the issue any further.
If G didn't do it, where the heck did that rabbit come from? And where on earth had he been? I don't know the answer, and quite frankly, it's freaking us out a little.
M has an occasional habit of sleepwalking. Perhaps he'd been on her mind, she'd had a dream that reminded her of where it had been lost all those months ago, and she simply got up in the middle of the night and retrieved it. Perhaps we have a ghost in our house, or a stranger living in our attic. Perhaps I have an overactive imagination and G will admit a week from now that it was her all along (though that would really concern me on other levels). Or perhaps, as M is perfectly certain, a fairy heard her wish, came into her room, and brought him to her.
I don't have the answer, but I'd really like to know. Or on second thought, maybe I wouldn't. Of all the things we tell our kids are so, but have such trouble believing in ourselves, what a funny thing it is to have a little mystery like this come upon us. Why should it so impossible to believe after all, that a little girl who really, really wanted something so desperately, did see her wish come true? It's certainly a nice thing, once in a while, to have a little faith.