I want to get some writing in, now, while I still have two hands to type. (Again, this seems to me like a good time to pause, in recognition of this moment, right now).
Let me introduce to you these characters I have living with me: my dear Eldest, he is quite the Piglet. And the sweet Littlest is herself the bouncy ol’ Tigger. I shall explain.
The Eldest and I have adoringly read our way through A.A. Milne’s original collection of Winnie the Pooh stories — three, maybe four times this past year. It still amazes me the devotion that he has for these stories. We read them before naptime, and the chapters are not short. The edition that we have only has teeny tiny pencil drawings, and not on every page, yet he still has such focused attention for each story. He asks thoughtful questions about the plot and the characters, and if he should be waiting on me for naptime because I’m tending to his sister he will often find our place in the book and tell me about the story coming up, or the one we read the day before.
I’m fond of these stories for many reasons. They are timeless; the characters, well-known now in pop-culture, have such a tenderness to them in the original writing. We get to know them deeply: they are brilliantly imaginative, engaged in their environment and strive to love one another the best they know how, even if it is often flawed. The language is poetry, and I connect deeply to the beauty of the words.
This brings me to my Little Ones: The Eldest often reminds me of Piglet. He is wholly devoted to his friends, Pooh and Christopher Robin, but may be most known for his smallness, his timidity and his anxiety for the Fiercer Animals. He can easily over-think his fears, but finds his courage when facing them side-by-side his pals. I have watched, with love and tenderness, as my dear Eldest navigates a similar landscape. His worries about the rain (and earthquakes and hurricanes) have often crumbled an afternoon for us. He thinks about things, without obsession or perseveration, but with curiosity and exploration from every angle. But he knows how to find his Brave. He (almost) never lets himself get in the way of an adventure. He is my Piglet.
And then there is my Tigger: T-I-double Gr-R. She is bouncy, without bounds. Tigger comes to the forest in the second volume of stories, and though some in the forest may be reluctant to welcome Tigger in, he chooses not to notice, and goes about being his own Tiggeriffic self. We are introduced to Tigger in a story in which he is trying to find breakfast. He is eager to try every food that the other characters eat, finding out with each one that he cares not for what he is being offered. But that doesn’t stop him from trying! Quite like Tigger, My Littlest is never without opinion. She longs to be like the bigger kids in her life and follows eagerly along. What she is missing in size, she more than makes up for in energy and bounce. Tigger’s bounce can get him into trouble, but it is also his strength, and his delight. Such is the case with the dear Littlest (especially as showcased at our bedtime circus act).
I wonder which character this next little one will be. (My husband speculated aloud, with some dread, that it could be Eeyore). We will love and cherish whoever joins our Hundred Acre Wood next. Of course, the refreshing thing about these beautiful friends is we all are made up of pieces of all of them. As my Little Ones grow, and change, I know that different aspects of their personality, and therefore different friends of Pooh, will take on greater and deeper importance. In being part of this family, this community, we will learn from each other, grow towards one another, and our tendencies will rub off a bit onto each other.