My Daughter and the Not-Perfect Bunny

You woke up screaming in the middle of the night, frantic. You held up your bunny, a floppy square of pink blanket attached to a long-eared rabbit head. “This bunny is not perfect,” you wailed.

I knew what you meant. This bunny, one of three identical bunnies, is the oldest, the most worn. His fur is a little less pink than it used to be, a little less soft. He’s clean, but the whites of his ears have grown dingy.

So, yeah, this bunny is not perfect. This bunny was loved — drug across the playground, stuffed into the trunk of your trike, abandoned briefly on the floor of the bar where your favorite musician sings the song about a peanut getting hit by a train. This bunny was loved, and with love he got used. That should make him more appealing, not less.

I felt bad for the not-perfect bunny. I felt worse than bad. Standing in your room with this reject bunny, I wanted to cry. Maybe I am the not-perfect bunny. I’m a little less pink too, a little older. A little more worn. Maybe someday I will be the not-perfect mom and you’ll want to get rid of me. And then what will I do?

Or, worse yet, maybe my unrelenting idolization of perfection has rubbed off. Remember when we decorated cookies? Did you see me cringe when you put two M&M eyes on one side of the bear’s head? Did you feel waves of disapproval as you piped (too much) brown frosting onto a pumpkin (that should have been orange)? Why couldn’t I just hand over the piping bag and let you enjoy yourself?

Guess what, kid. Life isn’t perfect. If you expect perfection, you will be perpetually disappointed. I should know.

I want you to appreciate the things that you have, but you are only three. Maybe I expect too much. Control yourself. Don’t yell. Do it right. Stop with the goddamn fork on the table. Maybe it’s too much to expect you to appreciate this well-loved bunny.

But what will you do when the perfect bunny becomes not-perfect? Do you think I will just keep buying you bunnies forever until you don’t need them anymore? You’re right. I probably will. We live in a world where there are always more perfect bunnies for the low price of $13.95. But I want you to love this bunny. I want not-perfect to be good enough. For both of us.

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