Maurice Sendak: A Remembrance
I did not begin to love Maurice Sendak when I had boys, three of them, all just as wild as Max. I loved him, as most of you did, long before that. I could recite the entire text of Where the Wild Things Are even without the pictures, probably. It's like poetry; it's like Bible verses.
But there is something else. Before I had my boys, before they were very old, I did not really understand it; I felt the mother was hasty and rather too punishing. Surely: if you're going to give in and give him dinner anyway, why send him to bed? Why call him 'Wild Thing'? I shook my head.
As I grew as a parent, I had compassion not just for the boy but for the mother, too. The lucid, elegaic movie based so loosely on the book showed me that mother and tore me up even more and, I felt, explored the true nature of this parent/child relationship: imperfect (as we all are) and intense and marked with the rich internal life and tendency toward emotional overload and explosion as my own boys, and my relationships with them, are. There is that love that overwhelms and then buzzes into absolute impatience. But it is true even across the years and weeks and days and into the monstrous internal struggles or rumpuses with which our children might be rocked. It remains.
And my love will remain for this book and Maurice's true sight into a child's heart. He died today. I will miss him.
If you've written your own tribute to Sendak, please link to it in the comments or send me a note!