Posted by: sulya | 7 December 2010

Mario vs Optimus (vs Cynicism vs Love)

So, the kidlet is mad crazy for Transformers.  He is also mad crazy for Super Mario (Wii and all the old ones you can play through emulators on a PC).  We make our own transformers and Mario characters out of Lego, out of Magnetix.  He and his father pretend to be in the video game when they are at the park.  We build Mario water worlds when he is in the bath…  He is convinced that he will love them forever and for some reason I believe both my ex and I have been telling him, “Well, you might not love them forever.  You grow.  You change.  Your interests change.”

Just tonight, he was reaffirming his undying love in a half hour monologue full of every name of every Transformer known to man or beast and I responded with, “Well, you used to love Cars cars and Thomas the Train didn’t you?”  To which he replied with a pause and a note of serious consideration, “I’ve grown out of them…  and maybe one day I’ll grow out of Transformers and of Mario.”

And something in me snapped.  His agreeing with me was horrible.  Horrifying.  Why would I go out of my way to tell him that love dies?  Why would I do that?  What am I worried about?  That he will grow to be fickle without knowing it and it will hurt people around him?  That he might be blind to love when it flames out, stick around to blow smoke when he should be movin’ on?

Wouldn’t the child of separate/divorced parents be perfectly (painfully?) aware, even if they were young when it happened, that love dies?

And, given there are two new people in his life on a daily basis in both his homes, wouldn’t it also behoove all of us to nurture the possibility of longtime love?  Of toys?  Of people?

Is this knee-jerk need to tell him that he might not love something  forever born simply of the fact that we know that when you’re older, and love dies, it usually hurts like &@$% and we want him to be prepared?  As if there is any sort of preparation for the end of love.  As if it is ever as simple and virtually painless as growing beyond an interest in a toy…

He might love Transformers forever.  He might love Mario forever.  Hell, I still love Mario and it was the boyfriend who brought the old emulator games into the house and entranced the kid in the first place.  Why would they even have a Mario game for the Wii if he was not still beloved by many who knew him in the way-back?

Maybe Thomas and Cars cars (i.e. the toy cars from the Pixar movie) just don’t have the staying power?  Perhaps they are just not a good fit for the boyo’s mind and imagination?  Perhaps that’s why they’ve fallen out of his favour?  Perhaps some cynical kid or grown-up told him that his Cars cars and his train tracks and his trains were for little kids not boys?  I dunno’, I know my boyfriend’s 10 year-old  loves to play with the train track, can do so for hours so obviously one man’s coal is another man’s diamond and perhaps that’s the way it’s supposed to be…

So help me, was I that cynical adult making rules I shouldn’t have about how old he is and his love for his toys?  As if taking pleasure, finding joy – as if love itself – can ever be defined by how old you are…

Back in the moment, I babbled…

“Well, you might not grow out of Transformers, I know Dads who collect them still, baby. You might still love Mario too. You never know.  That’s the fun part of growing up.  Sometimes you only like something for a little while but sometimes you try new things and  you still love them even when you’re older.”

And because he wanted to continue talking incessantly – and with the speed and clarity of an auctioneer – about Transformers, he said, “Well I am definitely going to love Transformers and Mario when I’m older.  For real, Mommy.  For real.”

And I said, “Good.” And then tried desperately to tune him out as I finished the drive home because sadly and with all that I am I can say that I – ersatz grown-up that I am – do NOT love Transformers…

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Original Images Borrowed from HERE and HERE

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