Posts Tagged With: monsters

 
 

The Power of a Few Blankets

Friday Letter to my Kids – April 3, 2015 –

Dear J, J, L and L,

I grew up in the no-bike-helmets, no-parental-supervision-all-summer, kick-the-can-long-after-dark, stay-away-from-the-river, eat-all-the-sugar-you-want and drink-red-Koolaid era. We lived fearlessly and with abandon.

boogeyman (not John Travolta)

boogeyman (not John Travolta)

Why then, as a child, would I feel the need to hide and protect myself at night, at home in my own bed? Why would my nighttimes fill up with so much fright and worry?

I have no idea. Honestly. I’m just a weird kid. Or I was.

Okay, let’s be honest. I still am weird.

If anything, the world’s gotten scarier the older I’ve gotten, but not in the boogeyman kinds of ways. And of course, I can talk myself through the things that go make odd noises in the dark, usually. But I do still sleep with a light on if your Dad is out-of-town or hasn’t come to bed yet.

I suppose I’m just a creature of habit.

From as young as I can recall I’ve always gone to sleep with the covers over my head and just my nose and mouth poking out for breathing.

That’s not an easy thing to achieve. Getting the covers to wrap around your head and eyes and still snug in under your chin takes some skill. It’s trickier if you’re sharing the bed with someone, which I have for most of my life. The secret, I suppose, lies in scrunching down low enough on the mattress, toes almost touching the end of the bed.

Floating head phantom creature.

Floating head phantom creature.

Most people waste that bottom twelve inches of mattress space, but not me. It’s necessary to use every bit of leg room for proper cacooning under sheet, blanket and comforter.

You wonder, no doubt, how I came to sleep this way. I have no idea. Perhaps I was cold one night as a tiny munchkin and discovered the perfect sleeping arrangement. Everyone knows if your head is warm the rest of your body will stay warmer. I’d guess that’s how sleeping caps came into vogue back a few centuries ago. I could go for one of those some nights even now. Except that I have my head wrapping sleep position down to a science.

The other possibility lies in this true fact: I’m a born worrier and a ‘fraidy cat. It’s true. I didn’t come into this worry addiction by accident. I’m certain I arrived, heaven’s dust still shining on my little chubby cheeks, worried about some potential catastrophe and scared outta my newborn diaper about every little noise and new thing in the world.

He looks harmless enough, but watch out!!!

Only looks harmless…

That’s a lot to come in to the world with. Maybe I learned to be afraid of the dark, although I think that came as part and parcel of the whole Kami package. I remember yelling for Mom from the safety of my warm bed after a scary dream, or needing a drink. I’d yell a good ten minutes or more if that’s what it took. My poor mother. I must have done that a few thousand times to her. Little did I know at the time what I was doing to her sanity and her sleep deficit. (Sorry, Mom!!)

Karma, also known as getting what’s coming to you…

I suppose all the middle of the night waking you kids did while you were young could be defined as Karma. I had it coming to me.

Afraid of the dark and worrying about life made me want to hunker down under the covers and hide from the world, especially the nighttime world. I somehow felt protected by those few inches of cloth, from whatever intruder, ghost, goblin, boogeyman, specter or fearsome creature might appear in my bedroom.

Mike? Mike Wazowski? Gah!!

Mike?

Maybe my bedroom door really did open up on Monsters, Inc. back in the day. Who wouldn’t be petrified if Sulley, or Mike Wazowski, or heaven forbid, Randall, appeared in their bedroom from time to time. Oy vey! But, I don’t believe in monsters, so that can’t be why.

I suppose why doesn’t really matter. I suppose I just wanted you to know a little something more about me. Maybe it explains something you never understood about your dear Mom. Or maybe it just cements the idea that you have an odd mother. That’s okay. It’d be as close to the truth as you can get.

Hey, occasionally I find myself falling asleep just fine without my head protected and my eyes covered. Of course, I’m usually reading a book when that happens.

Happy Dreams!

All my love,

Mom

photo 1-9 copy 8

~~~~~

“I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I’m awake, you know?” ~Ernest Hemingway

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Categories: Family, Friday Letter to My Kids, Friday Letters | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

That Monstrous Mama Of Yours

Friday Letter to my Kids:

Dear J, J, L and L,

Parents want to leave a legacy for their children, something of themselves that lives on in future generations. I’m afraid I unintentionally passed on a not so stellar legacy to you four kids.

My temper.

As you know I’m just about the calmest person in the world.

Until I’m not.

Like me, more Looney than tunes.

Like me, more Looney than tunes.

Then I’m like some Tasmanian devil/nuclear bomb of emotional messy destruction.

Witness the dented pan, or two, in the kitchen cupboard, a defunct Scrabble game and the memory of a few holes in the wall from various projectiles. Not to mention a phone call or two I made to evil bullying spawn of Satan children or their parents. The rock/lawn chair/anything within reach launching into to the swimming pool incident needs to permanently self-destruct from all our memories. And, a few others I simply won’t elaborate on due to the statute of limitations time frame thingy. (kidding, kidding…)

No one will believe me if they read this. No one. I barely believe it myself sometimes.

The Incredibly Green Hulk, temper tantrum personified.

The Incredibly Green Hulk, temper tantrum personified.

That’s how calm I usually feel. That’s how cool and collected I come across. The idea of your mother, mild-mannered Clarkette Kent with glasses, turning into a raging, maniacal foaming at the mouth, bad words unleashed kind of person just won’t register as realistic in anyone’s brain matter. Unless they’ve experienced said transformation. Maybe Superman is pushing the metaphor, I should have compared myself with The Hulk, I suppose.

I’m going somewhere with this. Stay with me here.

Loving the illustrations!

Loving the illustrations!

Big L gifted me this children’s book a few years back, Monster Mama, written by Liz Rosenberg and delightfully illustrated by Stephen Gammell. It’s been a favorite of mine. (Second only to “Are You My Mother?”)

Why is it a favorite? Well, aside from the near perfect rendering of my likeness in astounding living color, it seems more realistic than most children’s books about how mothers really are. I love how accepting the son is of his mother’s differences. Also, the two sides of this particular “fictional” mother get equal billing.

Side One

She’s a tender-hearted, sensitive mother who teaches her sweet son profound lessons.

“Always use your powers for good, never for evil.” ~ Monster Mama 

Side Two

She has mother bear killer instincts to protect and defend. When Patrick Edward found himself dealing with some hoodlums

“Monster Mama heard the echoes of his roar. She zoomed out of her cave like a fast-moving freight train and sailed over the creek in one graceful leap.”

Howling, thundering, snapping and red-flamed eyes ensued and justice meted out.

The difference between Monster Mama and myself lies in the appropriateness of her response to stress, versus the often massive inappropriateness of my response to stress. Her lashing out seemed measured and appropriate in defense of her son.

tasmanian devil real

An actual Tasmanian Devil.

I, however, simply explode based on an uncontrolled amount of emotion and frustration not specifically aimed, usually, at anyone in particular. (Hence the wall damage instead of personal injury.) And, I wasn’t always defending or protecting, usually just venting in a rather loud, obnoxious and embarrassing way.

This isn’t the kind of legacy I wanted passed on to you. And yet, several, if not all of you, have this tendency to explosive projectile anger vomiting.

It’s not pretty. Remember?

A more productive, or at the least, a safer way to deal with stress and anger might be to let off a little pressure every day, or every hour, or when the need arises. Instead of doing what I do, which is holding it all in, keeping all emotions stuffed into some tiny box in the back of my brain somewhere, where the pressure builds and builds until nothing can hold it back. And BAM! Whoever unluckily resides in the vicinity when the last straw falls, last bean weighs in, last nerve gets stepped on, catches the wrath of Khan or Kami.

A cliche', I know. But still true.

A cliche’, I know. But still true.

I’m still, even all these years later, prone to monstrous explosions of stupidity and yelling. You’d think I’d have outgrown the temper tantrum thing by now.

Truly. If you can get a handle on the whole out-of-control temper thing, you’ll be waaaay better off.

I know. I know. It’s like having an alternate personality lurking in the dark spaces. It doesn’t feel like there’s anything you can do about it. Like trying to keep a teapot from screeching once the water starts boiling full steam ahead.

I hope you’re more successful at taming your anger demons than your mother.

The last page of this lovely book says what I have always felt for each of you.

“No matter where you go, or what you do,” she told him, “I will be there. Because I am your mother, even if I am a monster – and I love you.” ~ Monster Mama

I feel monstrous amounts of love for you. Beyond anything you can yet comprehend. Please know that.

All my love,

Your Monster Mama

"Bluebird of Happymess"

“Bluebird of Happymess”

 

“Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.” ~ Ambrose Bierce

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Family, Friday Letters | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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