Mike Firesmith on Childhood: RAWR’s Mom

Posted on September 21, 2012


By Mike Firesmith

I haven’t slept in two days and now it’s Monday. The clutch in my truck dies so getting to work is more fun that it has to be. This will be expensive at a time I am really trying to save some money. Work hits the ground writhing in agony as if the world is coming to an end so I don’t have time to take my truck anywhere and get it looked at in the morning. I may have to walk twenty-five miles home tonight. Work weirdness lasts for nearly three hours and finally I can take a break and get some coffee.  I would rather drink plastic mud poured out of a Senator’s boot than fast food coffee, but it’s the closet place and I am tired. I’m Depressed, Despondent and Desolate. The 3D effect has turned me into a shadow, but I still need coffee.

There’s a space between the breakfast and lunch crowd and I seemed to have hit it. There are very few people here, but there is a woman and a child I’m assuming is her son. She’s young with dark hair and a nice figure, but she is most certainly a mom. Her son is dressed in one of those hoodies that have dinosaur ridges on the hood that run all the way down the back. He’s outgrown it a bit and is wearing it like a cape with just his head in the hood.

“RAWR!” the kid says and he spins on his heels in a circle while holding his arms over his head.

As he turns I can see “RAWR! RAWR! RAWR!” printed on the back of the hoodie. This child is made entirely of RAWR!

His mother holds out the bag of food and doesn’t look to see if he’ll take it and he does on a spin, expertly, now not RAWR-ing, but in a nonstop motion. Mom ignores the fact she’s raised a Tasmanian Devil and gets the liquid stuff on a cardboard tray, two drinks and a bag, as her spinning offspring leads the way.

The kid RAWRs at me as he passes me, but quietly, just loud enough to be heard, and he smiles as he spins, and looks at me to see if I’ll smile back and I have to, you know. He’s getting stuff at a restaurant with his mom, he’s with his mom, and he’s got his RAWR on, and he’s with his mom! The woman stops because she’s looking into the bag that came with the two drinks, and then returns to the counter.

“Excuse me, okay?” She smiles at me and waits long enough to see that I back up a little, giving her some space, and she asks for more cream for her coffee. Yeah, that’s her son. The smile is the same, the eyes look similar, the facial features, but mostly it’s the smile. The counter clerk gives her a couple of those small plastic creamer cups and mother of RAWR! returns to her offspring who is waiting for her, smiling, wiggling like a puppy wagging a stump of a tail.

“Thanks Mom!” says RAWR! as she hands him one of the little creamer cups, and I realize this is the first verbal communication between them. He strips the lid off and downs the creamer with a RAWR! and then exclaims, “Now I will live another day!” in very dramatic fashion. He spins into the door, opening for his mom, bowing and reaching one arm forward and she glides through while he holds it open. She doesn’t have to rein him in or tell him to come along or anything else, because for all his motion he never really leaves her side at all. I step back away from the counter to watch them. She opens the car door for him, he climbs over the seat to her side to open it for her, and they drive away, forever.

“Sir?” the counter clerk repeats the word as I watch the RAWR! ride away and I wonder if he knows it will end one day. I pay for the coffee and I wonder if he knows there will come a day when he doesn’t want the coffee creamer and it won’t allow him to live for another day. I wonder if the last time he does that with his mom if she will know it, and I bet she knows that has to end, but right now, in this moment, she is the mom of the RAWR! and I bet it is one of the best moments of her life, ever.

Will there be a day, many years from now, when he finds a dinosaur hoodie, tattered and frayed in the bottom of some box? Will he remember the creamers and how he pretended he had to have one of those a day or he would die in some horrible way, perhaps, or worse, return to human form? Will his mom hang onto it and bring it out after he had left the house for college for away and remember how he used to spin around to open door for her, and now hundreds of miles away, he may have totally forgotten that he once did?

What was he doing out of school today? Did his mom say, “Hey, I know it’s only September but why don’t you stay home with me and we’ll go get breakfast?” Or maybe she is home schooling him and this is their break for the morning before lunch. I find myself missing them both and wondering who they are.

Dear Mom Of RAWR!,

Please take care of your son and please know I have never seen a happier child. What you are doing is a wonderful thing. The way you interact with your son is a miracle that you two can share for only a little while longer in its current form. You have created magic in a hoodie and a creamer cup. Please take care of your RAWR! and I hope one day you read this and you realize that someone out there wishes you both nothing but the best.

I never had a child but I hope that if I had, he or she would have made a good RAWR! I hope that I would have allowed that. I miss the fact that at some point in my life I could have had someone RAWR! at me, and I would have known that in some language only dinosaurs and little kids understand, it means, “I love you”.

I remember being a little kid and now, at this moment, I realize my mom put up with some of the things I did not only because she loved me, but because I would never be that young again. I realize now, at this moment, how growing up meant leaving that little kid behind in her memory forever, never to return, never again to RAWR!

The little kid in the hoodie drinks the magic potion so he can still RAWR! He even gets to RAWR! at me, in my sadness and strangeness and my dead clutch and some little kid, decades away and nearly forgotten by everyone…



See more of Mike Firesmith’s work at The Hickory Head Hermit!