Tonight I finally read the final chapter in The House at Pooh Corner to Jack. I’ve been reading him a chapter here and there from both Pooh books for weeks but about two weeks ago after Chapter IX, I stopped and made excuses not to finish the book. I didn’t want to leave the Hundred Acre Woods and I think I instinctively knew what was coming. I’ve read many a Pooh story over the years but never any in the second book. I don’t know why. I’ve owned the books as long as I can remember. And even though I had a feeling what was coming, I was still not prepared.
For those of you who may not know, the last chapter starts with all of the animals knowing that Christopher Robin is going away. They don’t know where nor why but they do know that he is going. They gather together to sign a poem Eeyore had written and then go to deliver it to him. There’s an awkward moment where nobody really knows what to say and they all wander off leaving just Pooh behind. The two walk to an Enchanted Place in the forest and talk about random things. Then Christopher Robin tries to ask Pooh to always remember him, no matter what happens.
I finished the story and Jack looked at my eye and said, “Why is there a tear?” I tried to explain that the story was hinting that Christopher Robin was growing up and leaving his toys behind. How grownups put aside their toys. Jack looked at me solemnly and said, “I’ll never give up my toys.” I said, “Good. You shouldn’t ever.”
Then we were quiet for a moment. Then Jack looked at me, as I wiped another tear away, and said, “Do you want me to make you smile so the tear goes away?” I said, “Sure.” So he tickled me on the neck. I smiled and scooped him into a big hug and told him I loved him.
Then I sang him his goodnight song (“Michael Row the Boat”) and said good night and went downstairs.
He has been learning to read the last few weeks and he rode on just two wheels for the first time just the other day and he’s mastered every level and every hidden trick in Lego Star Wars I, and he does a perfect imitation of my Night Elf in World of Warcraft, and he believes in magic and is scared of monsters under his bed and is so proud when he stays on green on the behavior chart at school and loves taking trips to the new Providence Apple Store with me and snuggling on the couch to watch Jake Long: American Dragon or Kim Possible with me.
He won’t always be six. He will always be with me and he will always be a joy to me. But right now, in this moment in time, we are in an enchanted place which I never want to leave.