It was his first time, and we were very excited!
We had built it up into something big – a rite of passage, something he’d do when he was older, when he was ready.
But unfortunately, it came at a time when things had changed – when similar to airline travel post 9-11, the what if of going to the movies became “please, God, not again.”
The four of us (we were on a double mommy-son date) settled into our seats. The boys began digging into their popcorn and became mesmerized by the family movie previews. I kept stealing glances at their bright little faces as they became entranced by the larger-than-life happenings on the big screen.
It was magical watching them -- like my first time as well.
Then I glanced at the exit doors.
Early into the movie, there was an act of parent-child separation that Mr. R found frightening. “I want to go home,” he announced.
When I was little I was terrified by the opening scene in Bambi. I cried and cried and my mother took me home. This time, however, I was pretty sure Mr. R could tough it out.
“It’s going to be okay,” I said, pulling him into my lap. “If you get too scared, you can cover your eyes.”
We continued watching the movie, Ice Age 4: Continental Drift. (Sorry to be a spoiler.) We had several more incidents of eye covering, and a requisite sprint to the bathroom. When things looked particularly bleak, Mr. R re-burrowed himself into my lap.
“It’s going to be okay,” I repeated. Then to comfort my child, but also with an awareness of the absurdity of what I was about to say, I whispered, “Everything works out okay at the movies.”
My heart sank.
We enjoyed the rest of the movie, even staying to watch the majority of the credits. The boys had a great time. We mommies realized what a gift it is to take kids to the movies (quiet cuddle time! Sitting down for almost 2 hours! Whoo-hoo!), and based on the previews were very much looking to the fall releases.
Despite his wanting to leave several times, Mr. R happily talked a lot about the movie once we got home. I was surprised by some of the deeper things he understood, by what struck him and gave him a new sense of the world.
My little boy has now experienced his first thrill of a movie on the big screen. He has many more movie theater days and nights in his future. And even as he becomes more sophisticated in his questioning of, and reactions to, what he sees on screen, for him and for all moviegoers in this country and abroad, may the statement, “Everything always works out at the movies,” always ring true.