Thursday, May 22, 2014

Being a kid is hard

This is what I think.  I'm reading this thing right now (I say "thing" because it will one day be a book but it is not yet, but it will be great someday) and one of the premises is that childhood, essentially, is not all it's cracked up to be.  It's boredom and bewilderment and frustration and waaaaay too many emotions.

It's other things too, obviously: the parts of childhood we adults smile enviously at--it's imagination and laughter and freedom and joie de vivre.

This morning, Dave and Willow read the book that, for most of us, is the distillation of all the above--Where The Wild Things Are.  It completely encapsulates all of childhood, the good and the bad and the crazypants.  But here's the thing: I hated that book when I was a kid.  I liked other Maurice Sendak, I'm not spouting heresy here, but that book totally rubbed me the wrong way, and it was read to us over and over again throughout school, because adults said "Hey!  Here is this book that is just what you're feeling!  You're welcome!"

I don't know if that's what I was feeling.  I thought the wild things were scary.  I thought Max's emotions were scary.  Because childhood is kind of scary, when you're a kid (and frankly, witnessing it as an adult can be scary too).  Willow goes back and forth.  Usually she refuses to read it, but this morning she loved it.  Which is, too, indicative of the wild swings of childhood.

I don't quite know what point I'm trying to make.  Just that, I guess, being on the other side of childhood, the problems seem so simple, but they aren't, not while you're in it.  And as painful and frustrating as that is to witness ("This is not a big deal!  Enjoy your childhood!  Sing 'Let It Go' and actually, you know, do it!") it doesn't make it any less true. 

Hugs and I love yous only do so much.  But they're kind of all I've got.


toni p1 said...

Speaking from the "other side of childhood" also, hugs and I love yous are the only thing that count. Keep up the good work and hopefully Willow will thank you for it someday.

mrsrobinson said...

So hoping that hugs and I love yous are enough for a happy childhood! And I didn't like Where the Wild Things Are either, still don't as an adult, though I'm really not entirely sure why...