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By Robin Dearing
Just before Margaret's first birthday, she got a box from her Pappy and Gramma Fran filled with presents. One of the presents was a Beanie Buddy birthday bear. It was soft and cute and little Mar Mar (as we used to call her) loved it. She carried it around by the ear and hugged it to her neck. I, too, loved the bear — but in a different way. I loved that it commemorated her first birthday. I wanted to keep it forever as a reminder of her first year of life. So I did what any more-than-slightly neurotic and probably OCD mother would do, I took it away from her. But first, I took her to the store and let her pick out another Beanie Buddy. Her little 1-year-old self, chose this one: Ears.jpg I put the birthday bear on a shelf and she permanently attached herself to this brown rabbit. Margaret would nap with the rabbit and take him to daycare. It quickly became the toy of choice. She would go to sleep at night rubbing his ears. Originally, we called the rabbit "Ears" as that was the name that the manufacturer called it. But then she started calling it "Bunny Rabbit" as that was what her lovely daycare gramma called it. Eventually, it was shortening to just "Bunny" — "Brown Bunny" if there was a need to distinguish it from any of the many other rabbits in her arsenal of stuffed animals. Bunny has had a permanent place in Margaret's life since that first birthday almost six years ago. And he's been through a lot, including several trips to the washing machine. Perhaps his most tragic experience was early on when Mar was about 2, she carelessly flung him on to the stove top and his face was burned on the electric burner. She would touch the burned rings on his face and say, "Owie!" I remember one evening getting a frantic call from the babysitter. The first words out of her mouth were, "I can't find Bunny." Back then, those were words that could ruin an evening out in that there was no way she would be able to go to sleep without those ears between her fingers. Now, she doesn't have to have Bunny firmly tucked under her arm to go to sleep, but more often than not, he is the one that gets dragged along with her when a nightmare or a bump in the night causes her to climb into our bed. If I had a penny for every time I woke up to see this face staring at me ... Bunny.jpg