Last night, Michael and the kids and I went to a special pre-release screening of Where the Wild Things Are to benefit 826LA. Dave Eggers, Spike Jonze, Catherine Keener and Max Records (who plays Max in the movie) were all on hand to discuss the film--it's always cool to get a behind the scenes look into how something is created (especially something so many years in the making.) The movie was darker and sadder than I had expected, and I found it deeply moving. I know it wasn't just the film that touched me, however.
As I sat next to my beautiful teenage kids--who I rarely get to see at the same time these days--I couldn't help but think about reading Where the Wild Things to them when they were small. Arin will be 19 next Monday, but I can still hear his little toddler voice reading along with me so clearly--he especially loved the part where the wild things "roar their terrible roars and gnash their terrible teeth and roll their terrible eyes and show their terrible claws", and would always say the last line of the book "and it was still hot!" with great relish. It's so wild how quickly time passes, how Arin is a grown man now, in college, with a life of his own; I am so proud of the person he has become (and the person he has always been) but sometimes I miss those yummy toddler days.
Of course Asher was thumping around in my belly as I was meditating on the passage of time, the cycle beginning anew. Much of the movie was about the complicated, often tender, mother/son relationship, and it makes me wonder who this little person is, what our connection will be like. The film was honest about childhood emotions in a way that few movies are--it explored the loneliness and rage and heartache that children can feel so acutely (all beautifully portrayed through Max Records' expressive face) and I felt a stab of what I can only describe as grief thinking about some of the feelings Asher may have to face in his life. I only hope that he will grow up feeling safe and loved, and that even if he goes into those dark places, he will know that he has a family who is there for him, both for solace, and for the rejuvenation of a good wild rumpus.