“How do you do Nothing?” asked Pooh, after he has wondered for a long time.
“Well, it’s when people call out at you just as you’re gong off to do it, What are you going to do, Christopher Robin, and you say, Oh, nothing, and then you go and do it.”
“O, I see,” said Pooh.
“This is a nothing sort of thing that we’re doing now.”
“Oh, I see,” said Pooh again.
“It means just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.”
I’m feeling nostalgic.
My two youngest are heading off to junior high and high school next week. The years of doing Nothing are behind us, even our summers are filled with doing Something, now. It seems like yesterday that summers stretched out endlessly with lazy days spent doing…well, Nothing.
I’m not one to get caught up in sentimentality, but Winnie the Pooh was my son’s favorite character from the time he was an infant and “The House At Pooh Corner” is, in my mind one of the sweetest pieces of literature ever written. There is something about summer drawing to a close and school beginning that always reminds me of the tender words between Pooh and Christopher Robin at the end of this heartwarming book.
Christopher has spent his childhood deeply absorbed in the world of Pooh, Tigger, Piglet and his other friends in the Hundred Acre Wood. Now the time has come for him to leave for school and enter the world of “Kings and Queens and something called Factors, and a place called Europe, and an island in the middle of the sea where no ships came, and how you make a Suction Pump (if you want to), and when Knights were Knighted, and what comes from Brazil.”
Pooh Bear begins to feel left out, being a Bear of Very Little Brain, as he realizes that Christopher Robin will eventually leave him behind to enter this strange new world where he does not belong.
Every time I read this, my heart beats a little faster and I feel like shouting, “Don’t go, Christopher Robin! Stay. Live in the Hundred Acre Wood forever.” But I know that he can’t – and he shouldn’t. This is the tug and pull of growing up.
We have already been through this with our oldest child. We survived and so did she, the growing pains of adolescence. She is now an adult and a beautiful young lady. She is excited about the future looking to get married next year and start her own family. If our children never left the Hundred Acre Wood, if they stayed with Tigger and Pooh forever, they would never grow to be mature, healthy adults.
Yet, there is something so sweet, so innocent about those days of childhood, that we long for our children to cling to them as long as they can, knowing that they will grow up soon enough. Those early years of childhood have now passed for my precious three and oh, how I cherished every minute. I glance back with a smile but look forward with great hope, knowing their future is bright as they place it in the Lord’s hands.
The final paragraphs of Pooh and Christopher Robin’s story expresses the tug of a child’s heart but I think we hear more the heart of the parent/author A.A. Milne, as Christopher’s childhood wanes and adolescence begins.
Then, suddenly again, Christopher Robin, who was still looking at the world, with his chin in his hands, called out “Pooh!”
“Yes?” said Pooh.
“Yes, Christopher Robin?”
“I’m not going to do Nothing any more.”
“Well, not so much. They don’t let you.”
Pooh waited for him to go on, but he was silent again.
“Yes, Christopher Robin?”said Pooh Helpfully.
“Pooh, when I’m-you know-when I’m not doing Nothing, will you come up here sometimes?”
“Will you be here too?”
“Yes, Pooh, I will be really. I promise I will be, Pooh.”
“That’s good,” said Pooh.
“Pooh, promise you won’t forget about me, ever. Not even when I’m a hundred.”
Pooh thought for a little.
“How old shall I be then?”
“I promise,” he said.
Still with his eyes on the world Christopher Robin put out a hand and felt for Pooh’s paw.
“Pooh,” said Christopher Robin earnestly, “if I-if I’m not quite–“he stopped and tried again-“Pooh, whatever happens, you will understand, won’t you?”
“Oh, nothing.” He laughed and jumped to his feet. “Come on!”
“Where?” said Pooh.
“Anywhere,” said Christopher Robin.
So they went off together. But wherever they go, and whatever happens to them on the way, in that enchanted place on the top of the Forest, a little boy and his Bear will always be playing.