I had a moment last night with the King – well, an evening really – that left a profound mark. Let’s just say in ‘Inside Out’ speak (SEE it if you haven’t), it is now a core memory. It was one of those surreal moments where you not only truly see your child as his own entity that has formed into this unbelievably impressive creature, but you realize that you won’t always be there to witness this fact (yes, I may need copious amounts of passionflower to get through this one). And the surprising thing about it was that the moment wasn’t simply maudlin, it was quite powerful to connect to the King in such an adult way (as well, he’s 5) as the majority of one’s time with a five year is telling them to put on their shoes and stop waving their behind in people’s faces – or is that just me?
As most of you know, we lost Bowie a few days ago. The King and I had been talking about it most of the morning and after school when I picked him up. Of late, due to Star Wars funny enough, the subject of death has come up a lot in our house. There is a scene in the film when Obi Wan fights Darth and (if I’m spoiling this for someone, dear god, it’s WAY past due for you to see these films) during this fight he tells Darth he is much more powerful in death than in life, then he crosses his arms, turns off his light saber and lets Darth kill him. This scene pretty much made me lose it and caused some confusion within the King. I of course started verbally dancing to soften the blow and re-emphasized that Obi Wan’s power in death was that he was now a spirit, a force in the universe to protect all that he loved even though he wasn’t alive anymore. Of course I was trying to make a parallel to myself and the fact that if a bus ever hits me, gosh darn it, I would be omnipresent in the King’s life like Obi Wan and Yoda.
Anyway, back to Bowie. So after school, we came home and the King wanted to hear as many Bowie songs as I could play him. So we hunkered down in the living room and started going through his prodigious catalogue. Now I must digress and say that I have a very musical child – (god help me). He gets a melody, remembers a song and has a mean vibrato. His immediate response to hearing Bowie, aside from loving it, was what the man could do with his voice and how from song to song it changed. From there, he brought out some string (no clue why, it just seemed like the thing to do apparently), and started decorating the room with it and then dimmed the lights. Then he asked me to light a candle and proceeded to dance around telling me how nice it was to celebrate someone’s life after they have died. Yes, that mere sentence slayed me for its maturity.
That’s when reality struck a bit. He once again returned to the subject of death and asked again how Bowie died, and if he was old, and then of course when he and I would die. I of course tried to handle these questions as deftly as I could without wading too deep in the uncertainly of life. But for a moment the dancing stopped, and he looked at me and worked out that he was indeed very young, and well, I wasn’t, and that meant…well, there is no amount of alcohol in the world that could get me through the next few seconds. He looked at me with that slight lip tremble and said, ‘But Mommy, if you’re older and you die first that means’…and those killer silent tears started to roll down his face. And he just said, ‘But I always want you with me.’
UM yeah, UTTERLY SLAYED. I tried to appear like my insides were steel and not Jello when he just curled up and burrowed his head into me. I mean honestly, how I did not start sputtering like an idiot is beyond me? I of course told him that like Obi Wan, in death or life, I’d always be there…especially when he’s up to no good! And then I told him how beautiful it was that he could feel all these things and talk about them (as more men need this quality). [On a side note, one of my favorite things about the King is that he is big and brawn and goofy like a one man party in search of a hot pizza and yet he is as sensitive and thoughtful as they come. A damn good combo if I do say so myself].
And then of course I turned up ‘Rebel Rebel’ and did my damndest to let Bowie dance us into our happy place. You see, sobering. And yes, life gives you those moments, not to send you to the pharmacy, but to thank whomever you thank that you have people who will miss you this much and bring such poignancy to your life.
As Bowie’s wife so beautifully said the other day: “Sometimes you will never know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”