“I saw one once,” said Piglet. “At least I think I did,” he said. “Only perhaps it wasn’t.
“So did I,” said Pooh, wondering what a Heffalump was like.
A.A. Milne “Winnie-the-Pooh”
It is interesting where a spark of curiosity might take you and it is curious if you are to follow that path freely, with no expectation of a specific destination, what colour, texture and shape of tapestry will get woven… and if the image on the tapestry is that of connected dots of wonderings.
We recently watched “Christopher Robin” for a movie night. I had wanted to watch it for a while. I appreciated the slower pace of the movie that was true to the nature of “Winnie-the-Pooh” books. But mostly I appreciated the skilfully illustrated message of the importance to let kids be kids, to let them play and get dirty, to let them use their imagination and choose where to direct their attention. I love how the joy of free play was contrasted against the unnecessary race to “get ready for the real world” – this is the real world and it is magical if we let ourselves see it through the lense of a child.
Daniel became fascinated with the Heffalump part of the story as that was the only “scarier” bit. He wanted to know more about what they were and how they looked like. Same curiosity as that of all the original characters, I suppose. But because I grew up on the Russian version of the story, and I do not believe there were Heffalumps in that version, although I cannot be certain, off we went on a quest to catch a glimpse of one.
I pulled up a short Disney version of the book and my child, who does not particularly enjoy listening to stories, unless he is playing and moving around, snuggled up next to me on the most used piece of furniture in our house – extra large bean bag, and we read it in one go.
The mention of Heffalumps, in that particular version, was very brief, there was no illustrations, and so, the quest continued.
We ordered the original “Winnie – the – Pooh” book from the library. And it is such a joy to read it with Daniel every night before going to sleep! The slow pace fits his personality perfectly and it is a delight to hear him laugh, appreciating the jokes and unexpected turns of events, making realizations that we’ve known for years for the first time in his life! Like, “This Is Eeyore’s tale!!!!”
Last night, we got to Heffalumps, we read the chapter and everyone was too tired to chat, so we all just fell asleep…
Today I took a moment to ask Daniel if he realized that Heffalumps do not exist and they represent unreasonable fears that everyone has. He considered it thoughtfully and the realization connected the dots as well as validated something he was trying to work through for a couple of years.
Heffalumps were worth hunting for. But what I discovered after kids fell asleep tonight, is there is a Disney Movie “Pooh’s Heffalump”! And so the quest might not be over just yet.
There are Heffalumps out there for all of us. What’s important is to realize that they are not real and we often imagine them worse than they could be.
As I was driving home after a long trip to a client, I realized I faced my own Heffalump today. I kept procrastinating a visit to a pelvic floor physiotherapist for years, actually. I’d had traumatic internal examinations when I was 14 years old and I knew a visit to a pelvic floor physiotherapist also required one, but staying in that fear was not serving me well. The fear was truly not real but a Heffalump I had not tamed. And just like I took our new friend Serger (although a store technician thought I and this particular Serger will never be good friends) for a tune up, I took myself for one as well. I am glad I did. My physiotherapist was much nicer and knowledgeable than the technician at the store for once, and even though the reality of my pelvic floor health upset me quite a bit, and I will need to sit with it for a while, I feel somewhat empowered for having answers, support and direction to begin to walk towards the healing.
That step of self care got picked up by the tapestry of life and woven in as a delicate embellishment for the 2 always watching pair of eyes:
-Mom, what if I grow up and do not take care of myself well?
-Of course you will. Today, I, took care of myself, and I am a grown up.
-But you have 3 more people with you (our family) all the time and I might not have that.
-You, guys, did not tell me to take care of myself, but I did, that was my responsibility and so will you when you are ready. And while you are not, we will take care of you. And for now, Little One, you, also, have 3 more people in your life at all times who care and love you very much. And worrying about the future makes us miss out on the life that happens now.
And Now Is Pretty Great.