It’s a grey morning in the suburbs, but my son’s head bloomed with not one but TWO crazy hats in a glorious ice-cream-cone of childhood fashion sense: my sweet sandy-haired nine year-old, under the grinning plush blue head of Stitch, topped by a Mickey Mouse hat.
When the camp bus came, I kissed him goodbye with the insane, maudlin, frighteningly intense way I have of internally noting every moment as if it would one day be significant (or, even worse, a “last”.) And I know that this is CRAZY enough to (I hope) cover it up for my son (I only say, “I love you SO much” about seven times a day) but it’s a habit I’ve had for as long as I can remember.
As a teenager I was pretty unhappy and lonely for most of the year. But come summer I would head out to my parents’ modest summer home and cavort with other children of NY intellectuals who felt like (and were) true friends. And on several perfect nights, walking along a crumbling-edged blacktop street, leaning into a thick, moist breeze, crickets shrieking, and the white moon stage light turned up to high, two friends arguing about the limits of “independence” as a concept, two making jokes about how many pizza slices they could eat in one sitting…I would just stop myself and say, “Remember this perfect moment…Remember this moment when you were completely happy.”
Thirty five years later it turns out that such moments are rare enough to have retained precious space in the hard drive of my memory. Or, maybe that’s not right. Maybe I have lost the habit of noticing when things are in balance.
Well, not today. Today it’s Crazy Hat Day. And when my son appeared at the breakfast table like a super scoop of innocence…I noticed.