On most of my photos, if you look closely, you will find a little fox. And on the pictures that he is not visible, he is very close. While riding bike, for example, the fox rides in a pouch on the back of the bike. He watches baseball from the safety of the backyard deck.
Ryan's sweet little “Fannie the Fox” is/was a great comfort. Yes, that name was on the tag when it was bought as a baby gift. Perhaps his daddy would have renamed Fannie had he known this little fox would become Ryan’s special buddy. Ryan informed me, “Fannie is a people animal, not just an animal.”
I think that means that Fannie can talk and reason but looks like a stuffed animal. Ryan kept me informed as to what Fannie was saying, and thinking. According to the Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams, Fannie is well on his way to becoming real.
When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but really loves you, then you've become real.
Indeed, I fell in love with Fannie, also. He is such a sweet little friend with such a dear little face. Ryan takes such good care so that Fannie does not get cold or wet or left behind. Fannie was never lost all week because of Ryan’s attentiveness. Andy (and Amy) noted in his blog that Ryan is very nurturing with Fannie. It was precious to observe it firsthand. I asked him “Are you Fannie’s daddy?”
He told me, “No, I am like his babysitter, except I am like a babysitter who lives at Fannie’s house all the time.” More on Fannie, here.
Amy, Andy and I discussed purchasing another Fannie to have on hand in case Ryan’s little fox got too scruffy and worn or worse—lost. We pretty much decided that a new Fannie could never be as special. Remember in Velveteen Rabbit what The Skin Horse said,
Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand.
Oh, to love and be loved like that!
Oh, my goodness! Here is an identity crisis! I just found Fannie on Amazon and realized after all this time, her name is really Frannie!