Friday, August 14, 2009

Where the Childhoods Are


Just recently saw a new trailer for the upcoming movie "Where the Wild Things Are." I can't express just how insanely happy I am that this book is being made into a movie, and how much I can't wait for it to be released (just in time for Kevin and my 4th anniversary!). Each time I've watched this or the first trailer I find myself pushing back a very prominent lump in my throat, and have a few tears that come poking their way around my lashes. It must seem so silly, to get this emotional over a movie I haven't even seen. But for some reason this one just hits me. I feel like a kid again . . . and for me, that's both a very easy and a very comfortable state in which for me to reside. I talk about my childhood very frequently. I was fortunate to have a very good childhood, until about 11 or so, when puberty hit and so did a very bad self-esteem. But before then, it was, simply put, delightful.

Anything that is from my childhood (movies, books, music, toys, etc. ) gives me feelings of such comfort and happiness. They still hold a very powerful and deep emotional sway over me. I cried in the theater when the original Star Wars movies were re-released in 1997. I was seventeen years old. Didn't matter . . . when those beautifully glowing blue words came on the screen: "A long time ago . . ." and I heard that instantaneously recognizable music I just crumbled. It felt like I was truly reliving my childhood, not just reminiscing about days gone by.

I tend to hold tremendously strong attachments to things from my childhood. And I'm still bemoaning the fact that I never did get a Popple, Glo-Worm, or Mouse Trap (the latter which I recently remedied in Target). :) I'm just a kid at heart, through and through. I've always felt like I'm simultaneously a seven year old and a seventy year old. Strange, I know. Just one of the many paradoxical aspects of my life.

Well, I may not quite feel as much on the seventy side when I get to see this movie. I have a hunch that the spunky, quirky, wildly imaginative seven year old will hold the throne on this such occasion. Luckily my husband is just as excited as I am, and is just as much of a child-adult as me. This is why we get along so well, and why we truly "get" one another, like no one else could.

I'm not sure either of us quite realized, until recently just how much this book meant to us growing up, or still means to us. I suppose we identified with it enough because we both felt like outsiders sometimes. We both wanted to run away into lovely lands filled with strange creatures. And, at the end of the day, we both wanted to come back home.

No matter how good or bad our childhoods were I think there is something, at least theoretically comforting and soothing about feeling like a kid again. We grow up and every little fact, worry, responsibility, and limitation crowds our minds. It takes over, because it has to. And we push aside all of those parts of ourselves that make us believe in the impossible -- the parts that trust without pause, the parts that love a little chaos, dirt, and randomness. I think God gave us these things, not to discard as an old rag, but to blend into who we become as adults. I think we're supposed to let ourselves pretend sometimes still -- let ourselves romp around in a mental sandbox . . . or real sandbox, I'm certainly not opposed to that!

It's difficult to allow ourselves that freedom. But what's more beautiful than the wise and knowledgable awareness that we gain from adulthood, coupled with the innocent and imaginative joy of a child? It's the perfect balance.

I am confident that this movie will capture all that and more -- all that we felt while reading this book, in our cozy, warm beds. And the fact that the trailers use one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite groups ("Wake Up" by Arcade Fire) doesn't hurt. I only hope that I do my best to bring back some of that seven year old sensibility, and not just leave it at the theater.

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