Sunday, May 13, 2012

I did it for the books

It was late at night as we left the outskirts of LA, heading back up to school after a road trip.  The long length of Highway 5 stretched before us, and the headlights of a line of massive trucks loomed in our rear view mirror.   In the way of close college girlfriends, we were drinking Big Gulps and talking about everything and nothing at once.  The two of us in the front seat were keeping each other awake, and we thought the rest of the crew was asleep in the back.  Suddenly, we hear a voice from the dark.

"I can't wait to have kids, so we can play games and I can beat them."

After turning around and staring at our friend for a minute, we drove on*.

Needless to say, this is not why I wanted to have kids**.
I did it for the books.

For Winnie the Pooh.
For Goodnight Moon.
For The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
For Curious George.
For The Snowy Day.
For Green Eggs and Ham.
For the Little Mouse and the Red, Ripe Strawberry.
For Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
For The Phantom Tollbooth.
For Narnia.
For the Wild Things.

Night after night, as I sat on the floor, turning pages and making growling noises and jumping the monsters up and down, pretending to be terrified of the ghoul in the dark dark room, doing silly voices, hearing my son yell "QUIET DOWN THERE!" with all his might, or my daughter whisper, "Happy once, happy twice, happy chicken soup with rice" in my ear, these already beloved books became so much more than words and pictures.  They created magic between me and my children, and some of the best moments I've ever had being their mom.

And so, on this Mother's Day, I say thank you, Maurice Sendak.  And all the other magicians out there.
My Wild Thing, on her first Halloween
* She has a couple of toddlers now, so she's probably kicking their asses at Candyland.
** It's just a side benefit.


  1. That was a nice reflection and great tribute to him.

    1. Thank really hit home when my 16 year old son said, when he got in the car that afternoon and heard the news on the radio, "It's like my childhood died today."

  2. So are an awesome mom, and a great storyteller! You have always found just the right book for Amanda to make her laugh and think, and develop a love for books, and reading time with you. Cheers!!!

    1. It helps to have such an adorable audience!

    2. Definitely! Adorable audiences help! Cheers!