When E was in 2nd grade, I read her some books. 3 books. Outloud. Every night, after her sister went to bed, we curled up in my bed, and read a story.
I was a single mom at the time. For some of the year, we lived just the 3 of us, and for some of the year, my sister and her son were in the house. I think my sister listened in on some, when she was around.
First we read the Golden Compass.
Then the Subtle Knife.
Then the Amber Spyglass.
Yes, she was 7. Or 8. I’m not sure which.
And I read her stories about souls being wrenched out of humans, and of religion as evil, and of young, young love. Stories of hell, of death, of courage and strength. Stories that wrestled with the fabric of the universe, with the afterlife, with the “what ifs” of other worlds.
Beloved has chastised me for this ever since.
I may protest a bit too much when I say, “yeah, and it was FINE! She loved the books! I read them outloud – we talked all through – she asked questions, it was FINE!!!”
But now she’s 11, and the first book (or as E will complain loudly about – 3/4ths of the first book) is now a movie.
We went to see it today.
Just the 2 of us, because I don’t allow my children to see movies before they read a book. At least a good book. I refuse to have anything to do with their mental pictures being created by Hollywood instead of by their beautiful brains. (Oh, and E re-read it on her own during 5th grade).
Sometimes their father flips me the bird and takes them anyway.
But that’s because he can be a fucker, when he wants to.
There was a scene that struck home my old love of the books:
The 12 year old girl was having an altercation with her benefactor; unaware that the icy, nasty, manipulative woman is her mother. Until that point, their relationship was cordial, and the girl felt lucky to be taken in by a wealthy woman, after having lived in the care of a college – scholars and servants.
But there was a test of wills.
Between the woman and the child, there was a cold stare, a defiant glare, and at the most, the grabbing of the child’s arm.
Their little daemons, though – these animal-formed physical manifestations of the humans’ SOULS. Souls!! The woman’s daemon attackd the child’s, pinning it to the ground. The kids’ daemon (in cat form) took a fully submissive pose, despite it’s hair on ends, and regretfully gave in to the attack. A full-on attack.
And I thought – wow. You see a mom bitch at her kid in public, in thier house. You may see a kid slightly shrink back. Perhaps a little bit of numbness in the eyes. You may think, “wow, that tone seemed kind of harsh.” But you don’t see the absolute wrestling match of the wills.
But it goes on all the time.
It would be really helpful, I think, if we had that window into each other.
I want a daemon.
But I also want everyone else to have one, too.
I do not recommend the movie. Not until you read all THREE books. They are incredible. Then I will tell you that the movie was pretty well done. The characters were nicely drawn, the plot quickened, but far from stripped. It was stripped of some subtlety, but I think that was a pass to the Catholic Church. Who obviously never read the damned books.
Afterward, E and I went and bought her a MacBook. That was fun, too.
Finally, around 4:30 p.m., we were home again. We had big plans to decorate the tree (J and Beloved put it up today), but instead, J had a weird, random crying fit that she had forgotten to type a report (due Weds.) That took some time. First to get the old Dell computer to respond to any key strokes or mouse clicks (seriously, it took an HOUR), then to get her to stop the crying, and then for her to do the actual work.
Hopefully we’ll decorate our solstice shrub tomorrow (our celebration of the season, and not of anyone’s birth-so-he-can-die-for-me). I have been watching my co-workers one-by-one leave “new associate transition period” and enter “regular associate slammed-with-work period” and fear that my turn is around the bend. Will I have to post-pone tree trimming? Will I have to cancel my Christmas weekend with my parents next weekend? Will I have to give up a vacation day the week after? I sort of feel like all of those are possibilities, from what I’ve seen.
We shall see.
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