Posts Tagged ‘A.A. Milne quote’

If the person you are talking to doesn’t appear to be listening, be patient.
It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear. (A. A. Milne, Winnie-The-Pooh)

Sometimes a sigh says more than a paragraph can. Kim, a YMCA employee, tells Jay and me not to give up. We’ve come this far. I can’t speak for my husband, but I have more than fluff in my ear. Both ears, my knees, back, and hair follicles feel impaired. How long have Jay and I been on the phone with our insurance company anyway? Trying to get some number-code, one we didn’t know we needed for a new benefit. Exercise for older folk.

Jay says we have been in limbo for an hour. Including transfers, wrong departments, and a disconnected line. We can join the Silvers Sneakers Program, for free. However, we have only been given partial information regarding the how-to. Not enough to get us started.

I am ready to bolt. Go home. Clean the toilet. Scrub the trash can with an old toothbrush. Empty the leaves from the yard, one at a time. Anything would be a better use of the day.

Then Niecey appears. A tall, attractive, dark woman who doesn’t look old enough to be eligible for Silver Sneakers. She has just finished her registration. She offers to help. We abandon the phone for the Internet. Within minutes the task is completed. *

Kim appears ecstatic, as if we had joined her family. Personally. “See. It was worth it. Thank God!” We join in a half-sung halleluiah.

Patience. Thy name is not Terry. Irritation could fit better. An overall distrust for systems, of almost any kind. Time to choose a different perspective. Not simply because a problem has been solved, but because good people in the world exist. I have a choice—to celebrate the presence of angels or get lost in memories of miscommunications. A sure slide into bitterness.

Kim’s smile reveals an inner glow. Her tight black curls seem to dance as she hugs me.

How long can I hold onto the kindness of cherubs—envision it with the same eyes that view continuous, ugly news events? I don’t know. But kindness is worth the brain cell use. For as long as I keep the fluff out of my ears.


*Maybe this help link could be beneficial for general information about the insurance benefit. Unfortunately, I don’t think there is a one-size-fits-all answer.


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Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude. (A.A. Milne in Winnie-the-Pooh)

Rebe leads our play—sometimes with linear logic, sometimes not. In a child’s imagination, anything can happen. I ask questions only when I don’t understand the current scene: Is it day or night? Is the couch a make-believe car or taxi?

Usually I laugh at my granddaughter’s off-the-wall scenarios. Her sense of humor has developed far beyond the understanding of a nine-year-old child.

Today she dives into the serious. I don’t offer more than attention. Her doll, Ava, wears a layer of dirt from being dragged everywhere, but since her midsection is cloth, a full bath is not possible. In Rebe’s scene, her child has a fictitious illness, grow disease—her version of failure to thrive taken to the ultimate.

On a culturally learned keep-everything-nice level, I want to lead her to a gentler setting, but I let her continue, and listen. Perhaps she practices for real-life grief, in her own controlled setting, close to Grandma on this tangible, ordinary Wednesday. I don’t know. She is game initiator.

I play the role of surviving daughter. My baby-doll sister doesn’t make it through surgery. However, the next thirty-second-later day, Rebe lets me know something bizarre and unexplained happens. Both of us die and go to heaven. We have a party and then continue a regular routine. From the other side of the clouds.

“Let’s bake something,” she suggests.

“In heaven?” I ask.

Apparently, that scenario has ended. She wants to know if I have ever tasted flour.

“Yes. Probably when I was your age. It doesn’t taste like anything. Go ahead. Try it. It’s an organic brand.”

She lifts one flour-covered finger to her lips and agrees.

True, the taste of the flour is the-definition-of-bland. We discuss how different it is when the rest of the cookie recipe ingredients are added and baked.

Her eyes shine and smile broadens with the notion of how things change when they are mixed together.

People change, too. Sure, I enjoy my silent hours alone when I can create without needing to wash the floors later. Hours to play with words, mix them, add and subtract them. Give them power. However, I would have nothing with heart to create if all I had were continuous quiet.

Yes, Piglet, your heart is small, but size doesn’t have much to do with gratitude or love. Love and gratitude don’t take up space; they embrace people. And change them.

Thanks for a great day, Rebe. I love you.

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I knew when I met you an adventure was going to happen. (A.A. Milne)

When my oldest granddaughter was born, eleven years ago today, I was overjoyed. Of course she was the most beautiful baby in the world with big round, observant eyes and her mother’s dark hair. Naturally I was expected to ooh and ah about my grandchild. All babies are wonderful even if they arrive premature, huge, with wild hair or none at all, with or without disabilities. The newborn with more wrinkles than an English bulldog, a perfect clone to a ninety-year-old relative, is a gift.

However, our Kate was incredible from day one. Her bright eyes predicted her future. She would become charismatic and gentle, a natural in social situations, as well as Grandma’s teacher about life and gratitude.

Kate’s parents had child care lined up for when Mommy went back to work. However, I had learned from my mother-in-law how deep a grandparent-grandchild relationship can become. And I wanted that gift. Since I worked part-time Kate and I were together on Fridays.

I was grateful that I did not need to watch my first granddaughter grow from a distance. My computer room became a computer/toy room and it housed balls, cars, and puzzles. Stuffed animals took on human roles. Bears and bunnies ate whatever cook-Kate pretended to prepare for them. We had adventures and read picture books together.

Friday was Toddler Story Time at the library. Kate loved it. In fact, when she refused to leave one day, and then ran away from me and fell, her barrette sliced the back of her head. She recovered from the several-stitches-that-followed long before I did.

Now, Kate sees the places in other people that need stitches—not the kind that can be repaired with a surgical needle and thread. She is the girl who defends the other kids when they are taunted by bullies, the person the child with autism trusts. Kate does not see disability. She sees the person.

And I learn from her beautiful spirit, her enthusiasm, her growth. Actually she is about a hair taller than I am now. She shows me the secrets inside the iPad I don’t understand. She explains the rules of girls’ basketball, but doesn’t give me a hard time when my shots don’t come anywhere close to the basket.

Many years ago she asked me how long I would live. Obviously I didn’t have an answer, but I told her that I hoped to dance at her wedding. She bought the answer. For now I simply wish her peace, and joy, and a special kind of mirror—the kind that sees inside to all the beauty that lives within her spirit, budding, blossoming, becoming even more wonderful every day.

Happy Birthday, Kate! I love you.

learning from children  morning coach


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