Chaos was once the name of Owen’s whale. A huge inflatable whale that Owen fell in love with one summer, in a grocery store in the Poconos. We weren’t sure why “Chaos” (how did Owen come up with that? does he know more than we think he does? is he just laughing at us??) but that seemed to be the name Owen gave the thing — and if there’s one thing our family can appreciate it’s a good joke.
Chaos the whale had a quiet but large presence, even when Owen had taken him down to plastic scraps. We still talk about him. I remember the October I put Owen on the school bus with the last shard of that whale, the piece with the eye and handle. Owen had taken him down to bits; it was only going to get uglier. We said goodbye.
We still think of Owen whenever we see a killer whale toy – once big sister Bronwyn whittled him a wooden bath toy for Christmas, and blackened the killer whale markings with a burn stick. That stayed around a while. But Owen is loyal to his original friend. Or else he’s fickle. No imitation has ever held the same place in his heart. The chaos of Chaos the massive inflatable whale, particularly when he lay in pieces all over the house and yard, and the general chaos of Owen himself, are the reason for the name of this blog, and the reason for the name of the book I am writing about life with our boy.
To some kinds of chaos, you never do say goodbye.