Just doing Nothing

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“I like that too,” said Christopher Robin, “but what I like doing best is Nothing.”

“How do you do Nothing?” asked Pooh, after he had wondered for a long time.

“Well, it’s when people call out at you just as you’re going off to do it, What are you going to do, Christopher Robin, and you say, Oh, nothing, and then you go and do it.”

“Oh, I see,” said Pooh.

~

Then, suddenly again, Christopher Robin, who was still looking at the world, with his chin in his hands, called out “Pooh!”

“Yes?” said Pooh.

“When I’m—when—Pooh!”

“Yes, Christopher Robin?”

“I’m not going to do Nothing any more.”

“Never again?”

“Well, not so much. They don’t let you.”

(A.A. Milne, The Complete Tales of Pooh)

This ending to Winnie the Pooh tugs at my heart every time I think about it and hear it on the 45-minute adaptation on Spotify that Edith listens to every day.

I think about how beautiful it is, that my children can do nothing with their days and nothing with their time, and that this nothing is a good and right and beautiful thing for them to do. I think about how never again in their lives will they be encouraged to do nothing, never again will it be a positive thing.

Most days, I feel like I did “nothing,” but I am learning that it is actually a good thing. I am guarding their ability to do nothing. I am protecting their days of playing and reading and exploring, for truly they will be gone, as one day they must be.

One day they will have classes and worksheets and assignments and schedules and logs and calendars and everything else. But not now.

For now, their nothing is everything.

Vignettes

DSC_0007Me: “I have to get up to shower tomorrow.”
Travis: “No you don’t. You’re not going anywhere.”
Me: “Yes, I do. There are ladies coming over.”
Travis: “Are they ladies who shower?”

(Thanks to my husband for always being supportive of my less-than eagerness to wash my hair most days.)

~

The other morning, while Edith was playing outside with some other children, a loud airplane flew low over the backyard. Edith’s little head popped up and she watched the whole time it was in her line of sight until it disappeared—her eyes wide, a big grin on her face, saying something to herself that I couldn’t hear from inside the house. Probably “Airplane! Whoosh!” over and over and over again. I love to see her noticing things—her eyes bright, and her face turned with complete attention. I love it. I want to foster that in her, to teach her to see things and notice things and giver her full attention to them. It is good for me to remember that she will best learn this act of noticing from me. It is a weighty thing, this job I have of being a model for another person to imitate.

~

Processed with VSCO with c2 presetOn Sunday, during communion, when Edith usually says (very loudly): “Jesus here!”, this week, she said: “Jesus read Frog and Toad?”

~

I am glad that whoever planned my house thought of the sunshine. It comes in the large, back doors, first thing in the morning, as we are still working on waking up. Then it moves a bit and spills through the big window on the other side of the dining room, warming our breakfast and getting in John Henry’s eyes as he bounces in the kitchen doorway. Then it warms up the whole house, all afternoon, through the huge front window. I live for light, and this home has given me so much. It is making up for my first three years of lightless apartment living.

~

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As I tried to communicate to Edith the dangers of running into the road, I told her one time that the cars would “get her.” Ever since, she would say “cars get you street.” “Trucks get you street.”

“That’s right, Edith,” I would say. “The cars will get you so we stay in the yard.”

The trouble is, she has taken this very much to heart and every time we are in the front yard and she hears a car coming down the road, she crouches in the grass and looks around like she is expecting it to jump off the road and tackle her to the ground. Now she won’t even walk in a parking lot with me, holding my hand. “Cars get you,” she says in tears, again and again, until I hold her.

Mom fail or mom success? I haven’t decided.