Sometimes, if you stand on the bottom rail of a bridge and lean over to watch the river slipping slowly away beneath you, you will suddenly know everything there is to be known.
–Winnie the Pooh
It wasn’t the bottom rail of a bridge, but a step ladder, and it wasn’t a river I was watching, it was paint drying.
And suddenly I know:
I’ve painted this room once before. Yes, a million years ago, I stood on the same step ladder and brought this room up from drywall mud and primer to a place I knew you’d be. We hadn’t met yet, didn’t know what kinds of things you would like, but the breadth of the wall in this space called out to be made into something special.
I swiped the walls with a muted mauve, all the while mapping out a mural of the 100 Aker Wood on the empty space opposite the west window. This would be the place where we’d take a nightly visit to Pooh Corner, tell stories, sit in silence, and rock ourselves to sleep. Somehow, I knew this with complete certainty.
By the time you took your first breaths, we’d already moved the office into the “100-Aker Wood” room. The wall I had planned for you was bare, holding its breath, an empty space in the now spare room.
Today, I stood on that same step ladder and white-washed the wall where the map would have been. In stark contrast to the purple that took the first traces of Winnie on Wednesday, this room–this wall–breathes life once again, not with the whisper of a life I hoped for, but with the exhalation of the life I love.
This is your room. A place where you’ll retreat for nightly prayers, texting and phone calls, homework and heartache. It never was complete with a Winnie the Pooh mural, because it never needed to be. As it is now, this is how it needs to be, how it was meant to be from the start.
I am standing on a bridge and the water is slipping slowly away beneath me.
It is as it should be.
Suddenly, I know.