After a week of cold weather (highs in the 20s in North Carolina? no, thanks!) and constant rain, our little family was looking for something to do on Saturday afternoon. We felt borderline caged in our house, especially after spending naptime in the downstairs bathroom thanks to a tornado warning.
(Did I mention we’re having crazy weather?!)
So I took $20 from my Christmas money and treated my boys to see Disney’s Frozen in the theater, complete with snuck-in snacks to help the budget. From the moment the movie began, Harry sat on the edge of his seat in rapt attention. He gripped my hand at Marshmallow the snow monster and laughed at the snowman. He snuggled into my side when Elsa was afraid and worried about Anna in the end. Make no mistake – Disney’s Frozen is an emotional roller coaster.
When we left the theater, he sobbed for almost 30 minutes straight. It didn’t take long to catch on that he wasn’t just sad the movie was over – this was a reaction to all the feelings the movie created in him. Fear, anger, happiness, sadness, wonder… all swirling at the same time and his 4-year-old brain not knowing what to do with it.
I know what he was feeling because it still happens to me when I watch certain movies. I wonder how I can feel EVERYTHING in just an hour, but to me, that’s the mark of a fantastic story. That’s the beauty of movies. And at 30 years old, I’m able to approach the laughter through the tears with a weird appreciation. For a 4-year-old who’s just coming into his own with emotions, it’s a pretty scary thing.
It’s funny how as a mother, I’m constantly aware that it is my job to teach him manners, how to use the bathroom, how to hold a pencil, how to give gifts… but it often slips my mind that my role as a mother is also to teach him how to cope with the world. To use emotions for good, even the sadness and fear. To accept that sometimes laughter is the best medicine in a tough moment. To be gracious and kind even when he doesn’t want to be because he’ll catch more flies with honey. To treat others as he would like to be treated and to treat himself with the same respect and love.
Funny how an animated movie can help remind me that motherhood is more than just packing lunchboxes and kissing scraped knees.
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