The very best toy I was ever given wasn't shiny, expensive, or even new... and I was almost fifty years old when I received it...
One of the things that amazed me about these children was their desire to give gifts when they themselves had so very little. They came bearing presents for me each time I visited. Some children brought fancy beadwork and quillwork done by family members. One mother came with a beautiful star quilt she had made for me - a tradition Lakota gift of honoring. The teachers and students worked together before my arrival to create a quilt formed of squares bearing the decorated handprints and names of each child. It is amazing and crafted with so much love! All these gifts, large and small, I treasured and I still have them.
Without a doubt though, the most precious gift of all came in a jumble of wrapping paper and tape, obviously wrapped by the hands of the shy, beautiful little girl presenting it. Carefully opening the crumpled bundle, I discovered a well-worn stuffed rabbit. My heart nearly broke, realizing that she had brought me the best of what she had, a toy that she loved dearly.
I carried that tattered bunny home, tied a bright satin ribbon around it's neck, and featured him as the main character in letters and photos I sent her from there on, much to her delight. That precious bunny sat on the shelf next to my bed until it finally fell apart completely and was given an honorable burial.
I strongly suspect that toy rabbit is going to be waiting at the Rainbow Bridge, good as new and looking for the now grown-up little girl who loved him so much that she gave him as a gift.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~I'm linking up with Brenda at BYG Adventures today, where the word we are Pondering this week is "toy"...