Because I Was Loved

Good afternoon and happy Fri-yay from Junior, the giraffe.

Being invited to guest post at the Corner
makes me a very grateful giraffe.
Mrs. Gruener says that gratitude is good for us, 
that being thankful can actually add years to our lives.
Well who wouldn't want that?
And now, my story.

It has been twenty years since Mrs. Gruener found me in a box
at Mrs. Shocklee's garage sale and brought me to her school
to help with her counseling classes.
For two decades, I've been some variety of horse mascot,
first a Westwood Colt, then a Bales Bronco.

I gotta tell ya that even though I was a
giraffe living among a herd of Mustangs,
 I always knew I had a place and a purpose.
I could feel it, each and every day. For 19 years.
I'd have a problem and the kids would help me solve it.
The would gasp, eeeeek, and squeal when they saw me and Mrs. G
waiting outside the door to shake their hands and welcome them in.
I'll never forget when we were transferred from Westwood to Bales
because we were both a little nervous about our new school.
It was a fifth-grade boy who melted those anxieties away
with the whisper of these five magic words: 
We missed both of you. 
I was happy and felt loved in my comfort corral,
nothing make-believe about that.

Last May, when her days in Bronco Nation were over,
I begged Mrs. Gruener to take me with her, 
but she was having none of that. 
She said our Broncos needed me.
She said they loved me so much that
it'd break their hearts if I left, too.
She said her work there was done, but mine was not.
So off she went, into her gap year
{though I'm still not exactly sure what that is}
and back I stayed, trying to figure out life without her.
I did my best to try to make her proud, 
but something was missing.
We'd been moved out of our Leadership Lab space
and, though I tried to stay joyful, 
my heart hurt so bad.
I was lost and lonely, 
which made me question who I am
and where I belong.

Then, after more than a year had gone by,
and pretty much out of the blue,
we got a note from Mrs. G, asking if there was any way 
that I would consider coming to her new school with her, 
to join the Whitcomb Giraffe family.
Ummmmmmm, yes please!

I calmly said of course, 
Mrs. Parker packed me up, 
and I waited patiently for her to pick me up.
Turns out she missed me, too. 🥰

And though I miss my Bronco family already,
I am super jazzed for the chance to stick my neck out 
and be one with the Giraffes again.

Just look at all of the cool visuals our character cam spotted today.
What an incredible new chapter we're starting together.

My story reminds me a bit of the new picture book
that we got from the publisher in this week's mail.
It's called Once, I was Loved by Belinda Landsberry.

In this touching Exile Publishing October 2019 release,
a stuffed bunny finds itself in a box of discards,
ready for tomorrow's donation.

"But it wasn't always this way. Once, I was loved."

So starts the melancholy saga of Tock, a well-loved and 
treasured toy, whose life's travels take its reader on a ride
through the ages from 1939 to present day,
through milestones like World War II and the advent of 
Rock 'n Roll, from man's moonwalk to our world's walk
into cyberspace, where connecting virtually 
has threatened to replace the heart-to-heart connections
of days gone by. It's a story of all the children who loved Tock.
And it's a story of being lost.
And of being found.
Over and over again.

And just like my own, it's a story
of belonging.
And becoming.
And then coming back home.

It's a tale that I predict will tug at your heartstrings 
and one that I enthusiastically recommend
you add to your shelves for read aloud or tuck-in time.

 Discuss important moments in history 
and all of the dramatic changes over decades
using guiding questions like these:

How is it that we were able to almost eradicate polio?
What exactly happened during the Hippie Movement?
Why hasn't man been back on the Moon again ... yet?
What replaced the record players of the Rock 'n Roll era?
What was insensitive about a game called Cowboys and Indians?

Then talk about why sometimes it's hard 
{but also really important}
to let go.

Mrs. Gruener tells me that she had this quote
hanging in her room on an Argus poster
when she was a teenager.

Who else remembers this?
Maybe it's just me, but am I the only one 
who thinks it's kind of sappy?
Judge less, love more. 😊

Gratefully yours,


1 comment

  1. Junior, I am so glad you found a new place to belong and you get to hang out with Mrs. Gruener again! Judge less, love more...have you seen this video:


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