I think it is unnatural to think that there is such a thing as a blue-sky, white-clouded happy childhood for anybody. Childhood is a very, very tricky business of surviving it. Because if one thing goes wrong or anything goes wrong, and usually something goes wrong, then you are comprised as a human being. You're going to trip over that for a good part of your life. -Maurice Sendak
I'll tell you what - I'm tired of feeling like the very sky is falling down around me, raining bits of blue-gray ceiling tiles onto my head. I'm tired of worrying that I'll look up and find a hole way up there through which a yawning void of nothing threatens to invade. I'm tired of feeling a clench in my stomach each time I anticipate anything that requires movement. I'm tired of worrying over the when and the how.
Yesterday afternoon Max slept in his carrier (fresh from a trip to Target) while Alice brought me fistfuls of plastic food. She made hamburgers and sandwiches and ice cream cones. Fruit and eggs and maple syrup (for the hamburger, of course). She ran to me with delight in her eyes and a smile on her face for the sheer joy of seeing me looking back at her.
Maurice Sendak passed away on Tuesday. I'm sure you all know that, and maybe some of you don't agree with his politics. And maybe some of you don't even like his books (Where the Wild Things Are, Little Bear, etc.). But the man had a distinct sense of the side of childhood we don't often acknowledge - and I love him for that. Because as I'm thinking so hard about the childhood I'm crafting for my own two little people - worrying over their naps and dirty diapers and developmental needs, I often forget how truly messy childhood really is. And how messy, naturally so, parenthood is. I try for perfection and really that isn't the best way to serve my little people. They need the mess. They need the bumps and bruises. Because no matter what I do, those things are going to come for them anyway.
So here's to giving our children imperfection and revelling in it. And here's to Mr. Sendak. He will be missed.
I don't believe in children. I don't believe in childhood. I don't believe that there's a demarcation. 'Oh you mustn't tell them that. You mustn't tell them that.' You tell them anything you want. Just tell them if it's true. If it's true you tell them. -Maurice Sendak