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.
From The House at Pooh Corner
|Floating on a balloon trying to steal honey from the bees|
Every time I read Winnie The Pooh to my boys, I get all choked up and can barely finish the book. "Why, oh why, does Winnie the Pooh make me cry?" I ask myself, which is a silly thing to do, because I already know the answer.
It's because I see my own little boys in this enchanted place with their animals. Big teddy, Baby Bear, Stripe, Gallop, Penguin, Bumble Bee, (read about his birthday) and so many others. We have shared so many adventures with my boy's animal friends. They each have personalities of their own.
Stripe is a fearless tiger who is constantly getting lost in the jungle where he likes to explore. We don't see him for months at a time but always, in Stripe-like fashion, he finds his way out of the trees back into civilization. The stories he can tell!
|Gallop and Stripe on their way to New York City|
|Boopsie dressed in a Sari on his trip to India.|
|The Free One sleeping with Baby Bear|
And poor Big Teddy, he just gets sat on, jumped on, dragged around, and I'm afraid to say, is sorely abused. We don't really know what his story is because you see, he never talks. He just lies there flat on the ground because his fluffy body is not strong enough to support his enormous head.
What is going to happen when my little boys are all grown up and leave their animals behind. Images of The Velveteen Rabbit, and Toy Story come to mind. Will their toys become real as the Velveteen Rabbit did? Will another child find it in their heart to love them and once again take them along on the adventures of childhood? Or, will they find themselves in the bottom of a garbage heap, too old and worn to fix?
I just threw away one such toy, an old beloved one. It was such a sad moment when my son looked down at the bear's old face at the bottom of the can, regretful, but understanding that he was too far gone to repair. My heart broke a little as a dumped a pile of old, soggy coffee grounds over his smile.
The sadness is not about the toys or the stuffed animals, as we all know. It's about our little ones growing up. It's about wanting to preserve these magical childhood years. The years when our children are safe within our realm and their adventures never take them anywhere that poses any real danger. What comes next? I don't even want to think about it right now. For now, my boys are still young enough (or just naive enough) to play, to pretend, to live in this magical world where cotton, thread, and fluff come to life and become friends.