Sunday, May 24, 2009

Wild Thing

“Read it again.” He would say in a voice that blended command with hopeful wishing. Blue eyes fixed, silk strands falling around his face, he would pop his thumb back into his mouth, bunching Blankie up tight in his lap. Tyler had an insatiable love to be read to. He also could not get enough of certain stories no matter how many times we read them. No. Matter. How. Many. Times! He had a special bond with Max, a kindred spirit from Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak.

Night after night I read about Max driving his mother crazy “making mischief on one kind…or another,” Tyler taking in every detail with glee.

I would read “Max’s mother called him…”

“Wild Thing!” Tyler would yell around the thumb in his mouth.

“and she sent him to bed without his supper.” I would finish, watching a glaze of injustice ripple through Tyler’s eyes.

I never knew why this was his favorite story and wavered between the fact that he himself was a wild thing and the power Max finds over the frightening creatures by “staring into their yellow eyes without blinking once.” Probably a bit of both.

That seems a lifetime ago as Tyler just celebrated his 18th birthday. In classic Tyler fashion, he had a list of things to accomplish on that day, his own personal right of passage for this milestone. He planned to do everything on that day that he could not do the day before as a seventeen-year-old. The list included the obvious: take passengers in his car, buy a lottery ticket, buy cigarettes (even though he does not smoke,) buy reading material reserved for 18 and up and of course, get a tattoo.

You can imagine my reaction.

Wild Thing came to mind.

I was horrified.

I was also certain he would not go through with the tattoo. Tyler is not fond of needles.

I was mistaken.

Wild Things are forever.

Happy Birthday Wild Thing.