What Do You Do with All of the Poohs?
My children transferred schools last summer. In the process, I got a brief glimpse at my daughter’s records. They included report cards from: two preschools, two elementary schools, and five different teachers. I read through her progress and made a striking discovery. All five teachers, having no connection to one another, made some reference to Tigger when describing her. Even now, her third grade teacher changed her name from Teagan to “El Tigre.” Not because she is fierce and orange, but because she bounces constantly and could easily transition from the real world to a cartoon.
I am more of a Rabbit-Eeyore; always worried about keeping my carrots in a row, while having no idea where my tail went. My husband? He’s a Pooh (not a euphemism); full of great ideas but always struggling with execution. And, seriously, his biggest flaw is that sometimes he eats too much honey and gets stuck in a hole. Our high-strung Weimaraner fills my life with Piglet-like anxiety, and Owl-Kanga enter my life with a quick call home to mom. The only Christopher Robin in our family is my son. He possesses wisdom beyond his years, has a soft spot for animals, and I’m sure he will wonder one day how he ended up in a world full of crazies.
If you’ve ever read the adventures of Pooh, then you know that Tigger drives Rabbit absolutely nuts. In my house, my daughter and I have a similar relationship. She talks incessantly, does back flips for no reason, laughs at her own jokes, and sings Christmas Carols year round. Her energy and zeal is great in open spaces. Confine her, and you might as well be trapped in a pinball machine.
We collide when she does homework. I think she should sit down and get it done. She likes to take cartwheel brakes. We argue when it’s time to play. I think she ought to sit in her room and construct a puzzle. She prefers to turn the living room into a Cabaret. We war on coffee dates. I want her to sit and read the paper. She wants to discuss pastries with complete strangers. I think a perfect bath includes eucalyptus salts, she wants us to put a disco ball in the bathroom to accent her karaoke showers. Dinner, in my book, is a quiet time of sitting and discussing the day’s happenings. She likes to stand at the table and dream-up tomorrow’s adventures.
Teagan makes me crazy. Not because she is a Tigger, but because I want her to be a Rabbit like me. I find myself actually angry with her for doing things differently than I would do them. I get annoyed when I think her behavior should be less like hers and more like mine. We fight when I try to force her into my mold rather than allowing her to break every mold known to man.
There are these moments, though, when I really enjoy her. When I stop worrying about who she should be, and appreciate who she already is. In those moments, I laugh and smile more than any other moment in my day. She makes me sing when I feel like crying, dance when I’d rather hide, live when I’ve grown weary. Teagan marches to the beat of her own drum and in so doing completely destroys my rhythm. In other words, she is probably the best thing that ever happened to me.
Yesterday we met a good friend for sushi. Teagan wore a (way too big) pink oriental dress she found at a second-hand store. She spent the meal dancing in the window, sitting at the sushi bar making conversation with random diners, and making us laugh with her off-the-wall ideas about how to spend the remainder of the day. As we were driving home, my friend sent me a text message that read:
the wonderful thing about being a Teagan
is that being a Teagan is a wonderful thing (replace Teagan with Tigger and you have a direct quote from Milne)
I sat in silence, staring at my cell phone. I was flooded with Psalm 139 where God says that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. The text message challenged me. Did I really believe my daughter was wonderfully made by God? Because if I did believe, then I could no longer hold my bunny ears over her head.
That verse in Psalm 139 is probably one of the most quoted in all of Scripture. Yet Christians cling to it selfishly. I am wonderfully made . . . but you are not like me . . . so God must not have meant that for you.
I do not believe that God meant those words for me alone. I think He wants us to know that He took great interest in the design of every individual. With that knowledge comes the responsibility to value and cherish others. Even, and especially, the ones who are not at all like us.
“You are fearfully and wonderfully made,” is not only a comfort but a commission. It is a comfort to know that we were intentional. It is a commission to know that so is everybody else.
I want to be less concerned with changing people, and more consumed with enjoying the creativity of God in them. I will begin with my daughter today. Tomorrow I will conquer the rest of the Poohs.