Thursday, August 9, 2012

The House at Pooh Corner

 Today is my daughters' last day at preschool.  After our vacation, they'll leave our immediate sphere and start their long walk away from us and toward the horizon.  It's a walk we've worked very hard to prepare them for, with love, and hugs, and lots of reassurance.  All the same, my heartstrings are stretched to the breaking point today.

Today, my babies leave the House at Pooh Corner.

Christopher Robin and I walked along
under branches lit up by the moon.
Posing our questions to Owl and Eeyore
as our days disappeared all too soon.
But I've wandered much further today than I should
and I can't seem to find my way back to the wood.

Last night, both girls asked for the rocking chair.  It's been months since we rocked at bedtime, but they are, understandably, regressing a little.  So we snuggled up and rocked, one at a time, and they told me how sad they are to leave their teachers.  I reveled in the little arms clinging around my neck, and remembered our first days together in that chair.  For a long time, I could rock both of them at once, one behind the other, two babies spooning on my lap.  Their dear sleepy heads would lean against each other into my chest, one blondie and one brown, drifting off into baby dreams while cuddled into their twin.

My baby girls are far too big to do that now, but they never stopped hugging each other and I hope they never will.

So, help me if you can, I've got to get
back to the house at Pooh Corner by one.
You'd be surprised there's so much to be done,
count all the bees in the hive,
chase all the clouds from the sky.
Back to the days of Christopher Robin and Pooh.

In May of 2009, we crash-landed into San Francisco in an emergency move prompted by my mother's very serious illness.  Those days are now a blur.  I had transferred offices within my large law firm and had to take the California bar exam about two months after we got here; my husband was initially gone in Massachusetts half the time working on his Ph.D.; my girls were barely two; and my mother was very sick.  It was a real challenge to hold everything together, and I often worried whether the chaos and stress would harm my girls.  I remain convinced that St. Paul's Littlest Angels preschool, where there were fortuitously (miraculously?) two places available that terrible May, has played a tremendously significant role in ensuring that my girls came through that era as unscathed as they could be.  For over three years, the same teachers--absolutely no turnover in that time--have nurtured our girls, played with them, comforted them, and loved them.  I'm thinking about them today, with a heart overflowing with gratitude for their steadfastness, humor, and caring, and for being there for us all this time, day after day, with smiling faces to greet them every morning.  We will all miss you.

Winnie the Pooh doesn't know what to do,
got a honey jar stuck on his nose.
He came to me asking help and advice
and from here no one knows where he goes.
So I sent him to ask of the Owl if he's there,
how to loosen a jar from the nose of a bear?

Since they were babies, I've always read Pooh stories to my girls.  They just love Pooh Bear, and they know I do too.  Pooh is good to have around in a pinch, even if the "pinch" results from him eating too much at Rabbit's and getting stuck in the door on the way out!   Mostly, Pooh is a great friend.  He loves people without judging them, and always shares his honey.  Among the lessons my girls learned during these peaceful, beautiful preschool years, I hope that's one they keep.

My talented, brave, kind, precious little ones.  Watching you leave your preschool and walk away from the House at Pooh Corner toward the amazing and unpredictable lives that await you is at once one of the saddest and one of the most inspiring moments of my life.

It's hard to explain how a few precious things
seem to follow throughout all our lives.
After all's said and done I was watching my son
sleeping there with my bear at his side.
So I tucked him in, kissed him, and as I was going,
I swear that ol' bear whispered "boy, welcome home."
Believe me if you can I finally came
back to the house at Pooh Corner by one
and whaddya know there's so much to be done
count all the bees in the hive
chase all the clouds from the sky
back to the days of Christopher Robin
back to the ways of Christopher Robin
back to the days of Pooh

--Lyrics by Kenny Loggins


  1. I thought I had my act together AND I just read this !!!! I am in my office wanting to hide from the ultimate moment. I began and started this journey in Preschool 24 years 1 month ago. I should be used to this right? Has not happened yet. Every child teaches me atleast one thing every year. Each child becomes an integral part of my life in their own way. We, as teachers, all thrive right along with each child and then they are gone, but it is bitter sweet. Annie and Claire are so ready to move on and experience all. They both have so much to share with everyone who touches their world. My saving grace is knowing I will see them again and can't wait for that ! With admiration and love to the entire Persyn-Eslick Family, Peg Kayser, Director

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