When I left Slovakia after a year teaching in 1999, I felt like my heart was getting ripped out. I cried for days, maybe even weeks. One of my dearest students, one of a trio in my most favorite class, told me that she searched all around her room to find the sweetest thing she could find to give me as a going-away present. What she decided upon was a small pale pink bunny that had been hers as a little girl. I wept when I read her note that came with the gift. I have treasured this small bunny for ten years now.
Abe has a shelf high up in his room above a window that holds toys that he's not quite old enough for yet but that look nice being displayed. His Obama action-figure is up there. So is the pale pink bunny, the sweetest thing in a Slovak girl's room. Tonight, when I put Abe in his bed, despite the mound of stuffed animals at the foot of his bed, he pointed up and said, "I want that bunny." I'll be honest: I didn't want to give it to him. I tried to give him another bunny, but he shook his head, even saying, "I don't like that bunny."
So I thought about it for a second and pulled it off the shelf. I handed it to him, and this is what he did: he very gently placed the Slovak bunny right next him, tenderly pulled the covers up right beneath the bunny's chin and said, "Night night, bunny." This is the first time he's ever done this. Every other stuffed animal he's been content to let sleep at the foot of his bed in a big pile.
I shouldn't be surprised. It was the sweetest thing in his room.