Christine Schoefer: Holding On To Too Much

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Not holding on too much if you want to move forward is apparently a lesson that life tries to teach us at a very early age indeed. Christine Schoefer has this Perspective.

My grandson Theo is 18 months old and he can easily hold two balls. With one in each hand, he scampers down the hallway. He’s been working on adding a third. I say “working,” because his determination proves that this is a serious matter for him. Again and again, the balls drop. But Theo picks them up. At one point, he manages to clutch all three. His walk is more of a stagger and after a few steps all balls fall to the floor and roll away.

The other day, I brought out a basket full of small stuffed animals that once belonged to his mother. One by one, Theo pulled them out and set them on the floor. When the basket was empty, he sat in front of the pile and picked up the bear, the lion, the badger, the dog. He studied each one’s face before holding it up for me to name: elephant, seal, zebra. The word rhinoceros made him laugh.

Excited by the sheer abundance, he gathered the little creatures into his lap. Grasping as many as he could, just as he did with the balls, he tried to stand up. It was impossible because he needed at least one hand to push himself from the floor. He kept trying: his breathing got louder and his smile disappeared. Finally, he did manage to raise himself up, but then his captives escaped his grip. All animals tumbled to the floor.

When Theo got tired of gathering game he went on to his next exploration. Not a trace of upset. Like the lemon not fitting into his shoe or the sand trickling from his little hands, this was just one more experience of life revealing its laws to him.


Holding on to the little creatures, he could squirm and wiggle and bury his face in their softness. To stand up and walk, he had to let go.

With a Perspective, I’m Christine Schoefer.

Chrstine Schoefer is a San Francisco writer.