Don’t outgrow finding the fun in life, and other lessons from the Hundred Acre Wood
“Who was your first boyfriend/girlfriend?”
As someone who forgets her passwords all the time, I rely on security questions like that one.
And my response is not what most people would think. Sure, I had a serious crush on Joey Sementelli when I was 11. But in my mind, one of the very first crushes I ever had, was actually not human at all.
When I was super little, my first love was Tigger. Yep, from “Winnie the Pooh.” (No, that’s still not the answer to my security question, but it reminds me of him.)
I adored watching “Winnie the Pooh” movies all day long as a kid. I remember being so excited one day when my mom let me watch the same movie two times in a row (which we were never allowed to do).
Yep, Tigger holds a special place in my heart, even though I haven’t watched those old cartoons in years.
I was reminded of my little crush last weekend, when my husband convinced the kids to go for walk in the woods near our house. It was an unseasonably warm day, and it seemed a shame to spend it all cooped up inside.
As usual, we weren’t sure how much the kids would like it. After all, they’d probably prefer to stay inside playing video games, just like I used to prefer staying inside watching the same “Winnie the Pooh” movie on repeat — but soon we were all traipsing along the pine needle-covered forest floor.
And the kids took the opportunity and ran with it. A game of tag among the trees had us all laughing and panting for breath in minutes. We shimmied down a steep hill to explore a river bend. We found a giant tree that lightning had struck down, and a small “island” at the river’s edge that we could get to by hopping over some large muddy puddles.
And then there was the leaf race.
My stepson found a spot on the little river that had easy access from the land, and grabbed two dry leaves from the ground. “Let’s see how fast these can go!” he declared excitedly.
And he tossed them both into the water.
We watched (and narrated) as the river rushed them along, dipping underneath the surface, swirling around obstacles, until eventually we couldn’t see them anymore.
“I want to try!” my stepdaughter exclaimed.
And soon both kids and me and my husband were tossing leaves and twigs into the river, gleefully watching them speed away with the current.
This was what reminded me of Tigger and Winnie the Pooh, because Pooh and Christopher Robin did this exact thing in the Hundred Acre Woods — dropping sticks into the river on one side of a bridge, seeing which came out the other side first.
But my stepkids have never watched “Winnie the Pooh” cartoons, to my knowledge, so they had no idea they were following in his footsteps. It was just a part of childhood, apparently.
But for me (having had Tigger as a boyfriend, you know), I was quite familiar with river race traditions. And I was quite happy to see the kids coming up with it all on their own.
Later that night, after we put them to bed, my husband suggested we watch the new movie, “Christopher Robin.” Even though I hadn’t been all that interested in it (deciding it would probably ruin any memories I had of my beloved Tigger and his Hundred Acre Wood friends), I agreed. And as I found myself strolling down memory lane, I couldn’t believe how much I grinned and giggled throughout the entire movie; the story was absurdly cute.
My favorite part was that the moral wasn’t the predictable “go back to your childhood” or anything nostalgic like that.
No, it was more like: “What are you waiting for?” Don’t spend your whole life doing the things you’re “supposed to” be doing.
Living is supposed to be fun; when did we as adults forget that?
Between the kids and the movie, I got a fantastic reminder of how important it is to simply enjoy the moment.
It isn’t always about the things you “have to” do. We forget that, as we get older.
This time of year, especially as we’re all making resolutions on how to improve our life, get a new job, lose weight, [insert your goal here] — yes, sure, that’s all important, and definitely things we should be doing. But if it sucks all the fun out of life, maybe we need to take a break every once in awhile.
Just a thought, from a bear of very little brain.
Originally published in The Herald News on Jan. 6, 2019.