Father’s Day weekend took on an added new significance when our tribe trooped to the mall for my 2-year-old son’s first ever cinema experience. The movie choice for this milestone: Toy Story 3. It's been a fortnight since it came out, so it should be safe to mention highlight scenes from the movie. Just the same, I am hoisting a spoiler alert flag right here!
So many friends raved about it, tailgating their praises with unabashed confessions on how they bawled like babies. I couldn’t agree more. While very entertaining, the movie was also splendidly peppered with insightful lessons on true friendship, loyalty, family and, yes, letting go. All throughout, you take a rollercoaster ride through scenes that make you laugh, hold your breath and blink back tears that soon freeze into this huge achy lump in the throat.
I posted on Facebook that the movie has earned a slot of honor in the list of things that made me cry. It slid up my Hu-Hu Roll very easily, crept past the Final Episode of Friends (that farewell scene in Monica and Rachel’s apartment always drives me into shameless sobs) to share top spot with L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables (until now, that chapter where Matthew Cuthbert dies makes me cry buckets and never fails to leave the same “dull ache” in my chest that Anne speaks about).
More than the part where the Toy Story gang bravely accepted a fiery, inevitable end and that scene where college boy Andy did one final playtime, what struck me was when the mom walked into Andy’s room, saw how empty it has become and broke down. I saw myself in a not so distant future, stepping into a house, finding everything in its proper place and being greeted by a certain silence.
There, I have complete reign over the remote and have the freedom to watch whatever I fancy. I can read books and magazines with all their pages intact, without traces of crayon, peanut butter or chocolate anywhere. I will sit down and enjoy a meal without spewing out lessons on table manners, not fighting with little brothers and liking boys in between bites and all in one breath. I can go online for Facebook and post blogs without being climbed on and then pestered to switch to orisinal.com for video games or bullied into finishing immediately. I can sleep all through the night, lie full length on the bed and rest my head on pillows that don't double as hiding places for PSPs, cell phones, Alphabet Blocks or, worse, food!
What a dull house. (OK, fine, sounds great but I’m sure the delights will wear off very, very quickly!)
So, as I appreciate Toy Story 3’s lesson on someday having to let go of my kids because they need to move on, I also love it for being a wake-up call to hug them even more tightly today.
Now, when I reach into my bag for my wallet and instead pull out a toy mischievously deposited there by my toddler...or when I have to sit through Barney’s Adventure Bus for the 3rd time in one morning...or when veins in my neck threaten to pop because my daughter is practicing jumping-turning-roundhouse kicks on her baby brother...or when I get jolted out of my sleep by doors dramatically slammed off their hinges (just because!), I remind myself to take a deep breath and try to see things in a richer, fuller dimension. The distractions, the drama, the discomforts of today are threads being woven into a magical blanket that will embrace me and keep me warm someday.
Yes, someday soon, our house will be an empty nest. But this mom’s heart will be toasty warm and full.