Tuesday, May 8, 2012

"We'll eat you up. We love you so."

Image from My Green Vermont

I saw the report of Maurice Sendak's death this morning, and was immediately thrust back in time to when Maya joined our family, and I was adjusting to parenting two kids instead of one.  In many ways, we had it better than most -- Zoe and Maya got along really well from the beginning, happily sharing toys and food and baths and beds. 

The only thing they wouldn't share was ME!  If Maya was sitting on my lap, then Zoe had to sit there, too.  And if Zoe joined Maya on my lap, Maya would try to push her off! I was still in the middle of my semester, trying to make it through to summer when I could have time off with newly-adopted Maya and adjusting-to-sisterhood Zoe.  So I felt like a three-sided wishbone, tugged between Maya and Zoe and work.

Zoe was firmly in a Where the Wild Things Are phase, and she wanted me to read it over and over and over. . . .  Maya liked it too, and if Zoe wasn't asking me to read it, Maya was thrusting it at me to read.  And every time I got to the lines,“Please don't go. We'll eat you up. We love you so,” I really felt like their neediness, their normal-in-the-circumstances, clingy, crazy-making, wild-thing neediness, was going to eat me up until there was nothing left of me.

So there.  Everyone else's Maurice Sendak reminiscences today are about the joys of parenting or the innocence of childhood.  Mine is about being destroyed by motherhood. Sometimes truth isn't pretty!

Of course, as Zoe and Maya and I became more accustomed to being a family of three, the feelings of being eaten to death changed.  I was able to focus more on the "We love you so" part instead of the "We'll eat you up" part.  And now, I love it when they pull out this old favorite, snuggle on my lap, and let me read to them.

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