Thursday, May 10, 2012

Where the Wild Things Are Going

Image from Maruice Sendak's
Unreleased Drawings and prints
The inscription on our battered copy of ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ is dated Dec. 21st, 1991 and reads:

Happy 1st Birthday!
May you always be the king of your dreams.
Lots of love,
Andrea Prior

 Andrea or “An-N-INA” – as our older son called her – was Erik’s first babysitter. Years ago her dad (a chancellor at an Eastern school who died unexpectedly this year) and her mom took my husband and me under their wing at Northern Arizona University. Andrea’s mother, Merry Lu, and I had both grown up in Michigan and shared a love of reading and a mutual disdain for

A. returning things (she always made my returns)

and B. making phone calls (I always made hotel reservations, etc. for her). 

With Merry Lu, I attended my first book group meeting and went on my first ‘faculty wives’ hike. From her I learned how to identify Indian Paintbrush and how to gently remove spiders from one’s house and take them outside instead of squashing. Sadly only the former took.

When Erik was born, Andrea became his beloved babysitter. The night my husband and I celebrated our 10th anniversary we came home at midnight to find Andrea pushing our earache-plagued toddler outside in his stroller. She was a natural.  Erik has grown into a globetrotter, and both Andrea and her mom loved travel. Following in her parents footsteps,  Andrea chose teaching as a profession – one that took her from a reservation at the bottom of the Grand Canyon to Japan.
Last fall, Erik spent a weekend in Japan while on study abroad in Seoul, South Korea.  He enjoyed Seoul so much he returned for a second term and is due home the end of June. One more semester of college here in Nebraska, then he graduates and no doubt heads off to the world again.

 How you gonna keep ‘em down on the prairie after they’ve seen Asia and Europe?

Meanwhile, ‘little brother’ Andrew is approximately five days away from officially being a senior in high school.  We’ve yet to have a senior in high school since Erik bypassed all that, leaving home at 16 to become a foreign exchange student in Germany and then going to college early.

As chronicled before, Erik’s been going since he was a toddler…literally trying to head for the Mexican border (five hours away) during a moms and tots playgroups in Flagstaff while other children happily played in the sandboxes or swing sets.  I’m used to Erik going, to relishing the moments when he’s around, and knowing he’ll no doubt always live in some far-flung place.

So it’s taken me by enormous surprise to feel so discombobulated by the thought of Andrew going off to college in a year. At the closest he’ll go two minutes away, at the longest two hours.

But it’s not really about that is it?

The appointment for senior pictures is already made and on the calendar for this summer. Graduation party venues have already been discussed. A year is a very long time and yet, in this week that saw the death of Maurice Sendak, the beloved author of “Where the Wild Things Are,” I have two sons on the cusp of starting amazing new journeys and many friends in similar situations.

It seems like only yesterday the wild rumpus started….


  1. Shocking how fast it goes, isn't it? Very nice post!

  2. Yes, seems to speeeed by! And thank you!

  3. Time does fly by. And it seems the older we get, the speedier time gets. I've noticed my oldest son now has gray hair starting to mingle in with the brown. My son...with gray hair... it can't be! It seems like only yesterday he started Kindergarten.