My little girl has given me so much since coming into my life. I could go into a long, sappy monologue about hope and joy and love, but there are those who do that better and get paid for it, so I’ll leave it to them. Suffice it to say that I didn’t think it possible to love someone completely at first sight only to keep loving them more and more every day. It is.
However, today I want to talk to you about what Evie has taken away from me. My daughter, Evie Langston, has robbed me of all things sick and twisted.
Stay with me.
I read my first Stephen King novel at 12. Pet Sematary. I didn’t understand most of it, but the parts I did understand scared the bejesus out of me. I began devouring books of ghost stories in 5th grade and had managed to surreptiously watch most of Poltergeist on HBO by the time I was seven.
Some of my favorite movies are Jaws, The Omen and The Exorcist. I think I’ve seen every Law & Order episode at least once (not including that horrid excuse for a spinoff starring BeBe Neuwirth and her forehead), and I used to live for specials about serial killers.
I don’t know why I enjoyed these things so much. Certainly there was nothing culturally enriching to be found in a doofy documentary about the history of witchcraft or anything particulary intellectually stimulating about my favorite crime novels. But that was the point, I think. Everyone needs an outlet. A hobby. A way to escape. Some folks play golf or crochet potholders. I did Google searches for “Charles Manson + cult”.
To each his own, I guess.
It might’ve been her little pink toes. Perhaps it was the dimple high up on her left cheek. Or the way she exclaimed with delight the other day when I turned the page of a book to reveal a picture of a pretty pink princess. It could be all of those things and so many others. The fact is that Evie came into to my life, and all of the murder and mayhem went out of it.
Most likely it has to do with how wonderfully awful it can be to love a child. Everything changes. The world becomes a Louis Armstrong song about trees of green and clouds of white, but it also becomes a cesspool of pedophiles, car accidents and toys dipped in lead paint.
I just can’t seem to unwind with a good true crime novel anymore when all it does is make me think of what could happen to my little Poopy Doo. And I find much more pleasure in watching reruns of The Andy Griffith Show than letting the evening news determine just how much crap it can scare out of me. Like I said, everything changes.
The other day there was a huge article in the paper about some teens who were heavy into the occult and who had killed another kid as part of an elaborate ritual involving black magic and Satan worship. Sick stuff. Judge me if you must, but back in the day I would have been all over that article like white on rice.
I saw it on my boss’s desk and wanted to cry without even reading the first line. My first thoughts went to the mothers of those teenagers and what they must be feeling. I thought about the murdered boy’s mom and how, years ago, as she rocked her baby to sleep, she had no idea such a horrible thing would happen to him.
Last night I tried to test myself. I watched part of an episode of Law & Order: SVU, which used to be one of my favorite shows. Scenes from the episode have bothered me all day, and I wish like hell I had just turned the channel. I guess I failed the test.
There just isn’t room in my life for both Son of Sam and Little Miss Pink Toes. And I am totally fine with that. Those who have always found my peculiar tastes less than ladylike are totally fine with it, too, I’m sure. Truth is, I like Reba and Food Network, and I fill my weirdness quotient now with random documentaries involving the Duggars. My favorite movies are still my favorite movies, but, truthfully, I always loved The Exorcist for non-pea soup reasons, Jaws for Captain Quint’s speeches and The Omen for Gregory Peck’s earnest and unabashed cheesiness.
And I gave up reading for sleep about eight months ago.
Stephen King will always be my first love, though. And when Evie’s ready, I’ve got It all ready for her.
You gotta raise your daughter up right, after all.