Family Zone - It Just So Happens
by Cheryl Butler
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Living in the Hundred Acre Wood
© Cheryl Butler
Most grown women fantasize about which legendary actress they might like to be-not me. I gave up the glamorous world of Hollywood when I decided to stay home and raise eight children. Instead, I have lived most of the past decade daydreaming about which nursery rhyme character best suited both my personality and lifestyle and I've got to tell you, it's far less pressure visualizing myself as Mother Goose rather than Angelina Jolie.
As we sail out of another jam-packed school year and cruise into the beginning of summer vacation, I find myself doing what I always do at this time of year-taking deep breaths and reciting any positive mantra I can get my lips around so as not to become overwhelmed with all the schedule changes coming my way.
Presently, I find myself chanting the following two quotes over and over again, and I have that silly old bear himself to thank, Winnie the Pooh. "Oh bother" and "Think, think, think" are staples of mine and have been from day one. Because of the way my life flows-like a sweet, sticky pot of honey, I am sure author A.A. Milne had busy mothers in mind when he contrived one of make believes most popular fictional lands ever, The Hundred Acre Wood.
Not only am I a sucker for big, beautiful trees, I can totally relate to most of the characters in Pooh Bear's storybook forest. Piglet, for instance may be Pooh's smallest and very best friend but he is always up for conquering his fears and seems to want to be brave. Not only do I see myself in that delightfully pink pig, I also see a couple of my children in his character as well.
And to every family, a little "owl" must fall. Surely you remember the distinct characteristics of owl-always happy to offer his opinions, stories and sharp advice, whether or not they were actually wanted. Hmmm, I guess that could be my mother-in-law (sorry, that wasn't very nice of me!). Well, you know what I mean. We all know a person who means well regardless of whether or not his wisdom is needed.
Moving on, there is everyone's favorite Hundred Acre Wood personality, Tigger. Along with his striking orange and black stripes, the lively bouncing that Tigger is known for is what always stands out to me, and his energetic personality has always reeled me in. Call me crazy, but if I have the choice to be around an active ball of fire or a lump of draining problems, I'll take the springy route any day of the week.
Enter one of the best-known characters residing in that forest and sadly he's the one that most people find it easiest to relate to, Eeyore, a very dim, blue-gray donkey who is dismally gloomy for almost eternity. But ironically that's not Eeyore's perception of himself, according to him; he doesn't expect too much of himself and therefore remains quiet for most of the time. Are you buying that? I'm not. And the more blessed years I spend on this earth, I realize how many Eeyore's surround us every day, so in some ways I'm happy we have a character reference like this to point to. Just ask my children-if I substitute their first names with one of Pooh's friends, Eeyore is the name none of them want to be called, although I do an impressive donkey imitation that would make even Eeyore chuckle.
Now, I would hate myself if I neglected to mention Rabbit, and I will let you in on a little secret, and that's because I have always seen myself in his makeup. He's always ready to take charge of nearly any situation brewing in The Hundred Acre Wood and has elaborate plans to make it all happen. That, of course, explains why he is also the chief organizer amongst Pooh Bear's brood but inevitably his most detailed plans go awry when he gets so caught up in doing it his way. Ouch! That's a tough realization, but since I can't grow a vegetable to save my life that lets me off the hook somewhat for being totally rabbit-like.
And saving the best for last, there's the tubby little cubby all stuffed with fluff, Winnie the Pooh. Outwardly he appears to be made of stuff and fluff but it's the inspiration taking place on the inside that we all know and love him for. Known as one of the great morale teachers in cartoon history, he sure is a wonderful role model for today's know-it-all youth and perhaps even a few complacent adults out there. He always greets others with a warm smile, sees the good in everyone and is a problem solver in his own way. Let's not forget he is brave, lighthearted and funny. In essence Pooh is a being that everyone wants to be in the company of.
I suppose when school lets out later this month I will hold on to Pooh's, "Think, think, think." mantra as I try to come up with fun and exciting plans to keep everyone happy during the two months of summer vacation. At the same time, however, I hope I never lose sight of all the wonderful traits this silly old bear stands for because teaching my kids how to be Pooh-like is far more important than trying to keep them busy.
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