I’ve always been fascinated at how I can be immediately transported back in time by words, a smell, the way the sun shines on a particular stretch of road or a reminder from someone I don’t really even know. It fills me with a sense of wonder. It pushes away the jaded thoughts that threaten to undermine the last remant of “kid” that clings to my psyche like a drowning sailor if only for an instant.
That happened today.
A guy in a writing workshop I’m in made mention of a kid’s book called The Monster At The End Of This Book based on the Sesame Street character, Grover. It was my son’s favorite when he was about 3. He’s nearly 31 now but that memory is so very precious that it had me rushing to Amazon to get a copy; one for me and one for him. I don’t know if he remembers it. No matter. I will send it to him anyway and tell him his sappy mom is not as hard-assed as she appears. I’m sure he’ll laugh and pretend he doesn’t already know that. He still humors me when necessary.
The memory of that book hit me like a tsunami because, for me, it represents a bond, a connection so utterly profound as to bring tears to my eyes remembering it. He never tired of that ending where the “monster” is revealed to be Grover himself; as benign and innocent as that full-of-wonder little boy to whom I was reading the story. I can see my son’s beaming face to this day as I’d turn that last page over with the best mommy drama I could muster, that furry creature revealing himself with the same ear-to-ear smile as if to say “See! No need to be afraid. I’m just like you!” I may be wrong about this but I felt it held a poignant message: do not judge or fear others by how they appear but rather what is in their hearts.
As a realist, I know that’s not always possible but as a human, I desperately want it to be.
What a glorious thing, memory.
Thank you, David. You are my hero today.