I didn’t know I was going to have a meltdown today.
I probably should have seen that coming. For starters, it wasn’t a fabulous day at my desk. Additionally, it didn’t look good for the people of North Carolina today in terms of the ridiculous amendment which has apparently passed easily, and everyone’s nerves are a little bit frayed. Further, I am about two steps farther on the low sleep/overscheduling scale than I usually let myself get.
However, all of this pales in comparison to what is really bothering me, which is that my dear friend just lost a precious younger brother in an accident. That sort of thing is a powerful and unwelcome reminder that we, none of us, know how long we are here on this earth, and how long we’ll have the ones we love. It’s not fair. We were never promised “fair.” And it’s unsettling.
All of which is why, when I heard the news this morning that Maurice Sendak died, I actually had to fight back tears. Tonight I got out my copy of Where the Wild Things Are, and let it all go. I cried from “The night Max wore his wolf suit and made mischief of one kind…. all the way through where he sails back “over a year and in and out of weeks and through a day and into the night of his very own room.” I felt like a kid, reading it, but this was never really a kid’s book. Not mostly.
I have terrible health insurance, and therefore I have to write blogs for therapy. Even without professional guidance, though, I’d have to say that Max has all of my issues covered, and therefore I love him. He is struggling against restrictions and wants to rebel his way out of the box he’s stuck in; he fights with his mother, who loves him but whose rules get oppressive; he wishes all his walls would magically dissolve; he runs away from home and gets to captain his own little vessel and sails to the ends of the earth for a while; he is scared at first of the freedom he finds; he draws upon his inner resources and conquers his fears; he finds the freedom he was looking for but realizes that what he really wants instead is love; he gives up all his responsibilities but then there are layers of guilt; and then he sails a million miles back and finds himself a home.
Read it. I dare you. See if you see a little bit of yourself in there, too. My guess is, there’s a little bit of Max in all of us.
Safe travels, Maurice.