I don’t know how I missed Maurice Sendak when I was a child. Where The Wild Things Are came out before I was born, but somehow it just never crossed my path when I was young. I think there are not enough hours in a day or years in a childhood to see everything wonderful that you should.
But that’s okay. If you’re lucky, there are more hours and years after that, and grown-up eyes work nearly as well, especially if you squint a little.
When I had my first child, I wasn’t sold on the idea of familyhood. I procreated to scratch a nagging itch that had managed to hurdle my fear. Biology is tricky like that. I was very concerned – to the point of avoidance – that children are a drag.
The pregnancy was a distracting science project, so I didn’t worry too much about this being the end of fun and autonomy. Newborns bring a special exhaustion that preclude much analysis at all. But no matter your reservations, in that first year, there are things to be done, and by that I mean a great deal of butt wiping, hungry belly feeding, there-there-ing, and propping the little bald-headed thing in the crook of your arm and reading to it.
Someone had given me a book full of children’s classics. And when I came to the place where the Wild Things are… I distinctly remember it being a milestone. I cuddled the baby I was getting the hang of and thought, nah, this is going to be fun.
Thank you, Mr. Sendak. Please rest in peace.