You Grew Up, Rabbit, That’s Why


Amie and Pooh Bear

It was our co-houser’s birthday so Amie and I baked some cookies and sang Happy Birthday while he blew out a candle. Then we sat down to eat, and we each had a glass of milk. Amie repeated that she had made the cookies for him and Rabbit (Amie picked the nickname) responded:

Rabbit: That used to be one of my favorite things: to bake cookies with my mom.

Amie: What happened to your mom?

Rabbit: (confused) She lives in Vermont. And I live in other places.

Amie: (confused) But what happened to her?

Me to Rabbit: You said “used to”. What happened that you don’t bake cookies with her anymore?

Amie: Yes. Why?

Rabbit: (confused again) That’s a good question! Ha! Why?

Amie (after some seconds): You grew up, Rabbit. That’s why you don’t live with your Mama anymore.

She said that last thing a bit sadly, very seriously: “You grew up”. She showed such insight, showing us, the “grown-ups,” so simply and with genuine sympathy, what we have lost.

Just like earlier today she said: “Mama, I wish we lived in the hundred-acre wood, where all the Pooh creatures live.” Sometimes she seems to realize that Pooh and co. are made up: “They’re only pretend, right?” But other times she writes letters to Pooh and asks “where on the Earth does he live?” and then for lack of words I point to the UK, on her globe.

It makes me melancholy, like the third of her three obsessions nowadays. They are:

  1. It’s not fair!
  2. I win!
  3. Forever (as in “I love you forever,” “we’ll forever be together,” “I love this book so much, I’ll read it for ever!”)

The first two are intriguing, her struggle with fairness and limits, rewards and disappointments (“You win, Mama. That’s okay. Well done, Mama”). The third is like Pooh, a fairytale. What does forever mean to her? It does mean “forever and ever” in that all-out childlike way. Oh, sometimes she is so convinced, and the prospect of her losing the belief is so sad, that she makes me believe it!

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