I get depressed…often. I hate it. But it is my reality. I used to feel totally alone in this state of dismay. But since I’ve committed to shattering the stigma around mental illness, and have been increasingly vocal about my depression, I’ve discovered how frightfully communal this dark state of being actually is.
So I started pressing people for specifics about their particular depressions. “Is it purely a chemical imbalance?” I would ask. “Or angst over a particular hurdle in life? Painful family situation? Lack of social network?” The answers have been fascinating. But one in particular continues to stand out to me.
“I just feel like I’m missing all this joy,” one of my interview subjects proclaimed. As we talked further, I surmised that her feelings had a lot to do with envy. “It just seems like everyone else is so happy and connected and out there enjoying life.” And suddenly it hit me, this is about Facebook. OK, not just Facebook, but social media in general.
Social media is destroying our happiness. Now this isn’t a new concept.There are lots of studies that prove that the more you’re engaged in social media, the higher your likelihood of suffering from depression. Plus the numbers don’t lie.
We have teens killing themselves in epic proportions. The teen suicide rate has increased more than 70% over the last decade. Our median age of death in this country has decreased for the past two years in a row to 78.7, which now falls below Canada, Germany, Mexico, France, Japan, and the U.K. Consensus is that both suicide and substance abuse account for the decrease in life expectancy in this country.
But if we look a tad deeper, I say we are depressed, suicidal and self medicating because we are constantly being bombarded with images of everyone we have ever known looking ecstatic, loved, successful and sexy at every moment.
So I have the solution to all of this! It’s my new social media platform called Koob Cafe! It’s the opposite, well almost the exact opposite, of Face Book (Think anagram, sort of). It’s the dark platform where everyone tells the bitter, jealous, angry truths about their lives. You can only post hideous pictures of yourself and anyone you know. The ones where your husband is picking his nose or your kid’s eyes are crossed. Or the ones where you’re like, “Seriously, do not fucking take this picture!”
We plan to closely monitor the site for anything that resembles positive personal PR, hyperbolic happiness, or polished photoshopped images. Koob Cafe is 100% bleak. You tell the truth no matter what. Your fucking husband left you because you got old and fat and you’re tired of pretending it was a mutual decision that’s “best for both of you.” You’re 28 year old son is in rehab…again. And the good news? He’s moving back in with you if he ever gets clean.
You’re addicted to pain meds.You’re broke because you keep spending every last dime on Botox and Restalyne injections. Your sister is having an affair with your husband. Your lawn is dead and the HOA wants you to move the hell out of the neighborhood. Your neighbor threw a dead raccoon on your porch because he thinks your non-organic fertilizer killed his beloved Western Larch tree.
JUST TELL THE FUCKING TRUTH! Then we can all get back to living our stupid, empty lives without feeling like we’re missing out constantly on every good time party, love affair, family event, or travel expedition.
It may sound negative. I get that we’re supposed to project positivity, visualize the dreams we have for ourselves, fake it till we make it. But enough is enough.
Examples of acceptable posts:
This is what I look like when I wake up in the morning.
My kid told me he hates me more than life itself before he slammed the door and drove off in my BMW because I suck as a parent.
My house looks like it was hit by a natural disaster. But this is how it always looks!
If we start owning up to the reality of our lives, maybe we wont all feel like we’re always missing the happiness mark. Life is not easy. And it’s not perfect. But it is what we make it. So find your bliss in the inconsequential successes of your son taking out the garbage without being asked, or your spouse remembering to text you that they’ll be home late, or appreciate the five minutes of sun that shone in the Seattle sky today. It’s really that simple.
And please stop comparing your life to the best moments of everyone else’s
When your life has been a sitcom since you were 15 years old, it’s hard to discern the dumbest thing you’ve ever done. But alas, I think I can safely say that today, I have definitely mastered the art of the idiocy.
Black Friday. Ha! That’s funnier than you’d think. Just wait. I decided to brave the crowds and hit the discount store, Ross that is. That’s my discount store of choice. I bought a bunch of thrilling Chanukah presents for my family; colored boxer briefs, v-neck undershirts, socks, and a special something for my own sweet self. Exotic charcoal bath salts from South Africa. They were only $5.99. I thought about buying all five of the packages so that when I absolutely loved them, I wouldn’t have to run to every Ross around looking to replenish my stash. But then something resembling reason seized me and encouraged me to try one and then come back tomorrow for the remainder should they be as purifying, detoxifying and energizing as the package asserted they would be.
Now I am a woman who loves my bath time. I loved to soak back in Arizona no matter what the weather outside. But here in Seattle, I am cold…all the time. I spend at least 20 minutes a day in my tub. As a mom of two teenage boys, It is often the only peaceful, healing, alone time I have. So I was flying high imagining my charcoal immersion. I followed the directions carefully, slowly scattering several handfuls of the precious black nuggets under the running water. The water turned ominously black. “What fun!” I thought. I turned on my mini heater, plumped up a dry towel and stepped into the dark sea.
It didn’t feel at all unusual. It actually didn’t feel special in any way. It was just dark and maybe a bit oily. I soaked for a good 20 minutes until my heat quota was filled. The water had greyed a bit and I noticed a thick black ring all around the tub. As I emptied the water, I realized that the ring was a consistent layer of smokey residue from the top of the tub to the bottom. It had seeped into the whirlpool jets and around the drain and faucet. I started to panic imagining how I would ever get the tub clean.
I grabbed a container of clorox wipes and started scrubbing as I sat in the draining water. It wouldn’t come off. Then I noticed that I too was covered in black charcoal. Black, gooey charcoal that didn’t wipe off. It was then that I realized, “Oh, Lucy, you’ve done it again!”
It took an hour in the shower to get most of the dirt off my body. The tub was even worse. I scrubbed, soaked it in bleach and finally bribed my 17 year old son, Levi, to take his turn at scouring. Two days later, the tub is fairly clean. But I don’t think it will ever be the same.
I reread the package claiming every health benefit imaginable. Then I saw a tiny disclaimer that was barely discernible at the back bottom of the box. It read, “Charcoal may leave a slight residue that is easily wiped away.” “Easily wiped away?” I muttered. “Yeah, if you’re sexy P&G icon, Mr. Clean!”
As I rethink this episode of my personal maternal sitcom, I wonder what would actually possess someone to buy a package of black carbon, ash and traces of volatile chemicals, convince themselves that it would be healthfully cleansing, soak in it and then wonder why they were covered in a thick, semi-permanent layer of residue. Haven’t come up with an answer yet. But maybe we’ll unveil that in the follow up episode next week.
My 12 year old son, Levi, will be starting middle school in August at a brand new public school. We’re all excited and nervous and trying to figure out how life operates in this totally unknown environment. Up till now, he’s been highly sheltered by our local private Jewish day school.
There’s a steep learning curve here and I admit it is causing us some anxiety. LIke the other day, for instance, he was perusing the district web site and confronted me in a panic.
“Mom,” he voiced fearfully, “It says on the website that kids are prohibited from carrying backpacks on campus.”
“Levi,” I responded with a doubtful glance, “That’s ridiculous. I’m sure you didn’t read it accurately. I mean, how are you supposed to carry your stuff to school? Picnic basket?”
He assured me that what he had seen had been real and urged me to call the district office to confirm it. His anxiety was growing and I figured that calling the office was the perfect way to allay his concerns. “Hello,” I started to the kindly woman who answered the phone, “I’m a parent of a new student who will be coming to your school in the fall and my son saw something on your website about backpacks not being allowed on campus. I know that sounds rather crazy. So I just wanted to check and make sure that he misunderstood whatever he thought he read.”
“Um…I’m not really sure what to tell you,” said the voice on the other end of the phone. “Can you hold for a moment?” Then she disappeared for like three minutes and I waited, wondering if she was using the same trick my insurance company uses every time I call to check on a benefit. I like to call it the “indefinite hold tactic.” It’s when certain organizations systematically put you on hold forever, knowing you’ll eventually get so frustrated you’ll hang up and decide it’s easier to just pay whatever remaining balance they insist you still have, even though you’ve already paid them three times already. But I digress.
Finally she returned, “The backpack rule is a campus by campus decision and I’m afraid no one at the district can give you the backpack requirements for an individual school. You’ll have to wait till the school reopens for the school year to call and inquire about it.”
“But…I mean…Are you saying there may be some rule against students carrying backpacks?” I’m stammering at this point because this sounds as silly to me as if she told me that number 2 pencils were being outlawed.
“I’m afraid you’ll have to call the school after July 22nd,” she curtly ended the conversation.
Baffled by this, I started to do some research and found that yes, backpacks have been items-non-grata at schools across the country for over a decade. Huh?
I found articles as far back as 2003 explaining the dangers of backpacks containing concealed weapons, drug paraphernalia, even bombs. The answer to some lunatic potentially stuffing a bomb into a backpack? No more backpacks. Maybe it’s me, but that sounds like the most inane answer to school violence and drug abuse that I have ever heard.
But that wasn’t all I discovered. There were other equally lame reasons for prohibiting the dreaded back carriers. The Academy of Orthopedic surgeons had come out with some declaration a few years back about the risks of long-term back and neck injuries and posture problems from kids hauling around overweight backpacks.
Other schools had outlawed backpacks because, and I’m not making this up, they proved to be dangerous threats to teacher safety both inside the classroom and in the corridors of learning. Apparently, teachers find themselves tripping over backpack straps on a regular basis during the school day. They also complain that they have been severely injured in the hallways by backpack-clad youngsters racing from one class to the next.
OK, now I am deeply sensitive to teachers’ needs. Teachers deserve all the credit, gratitude and respect we can give. Their jobs are important and critical to our society. However, this is a little bit silly, don’t you think? I mean, are they sashaying down the aisles between desks while reviewing the Spanish American War? Tap dancing around the classroom as they pose thought-provoking questions about Odysseus? Kids can’t carry backpacks because teachers are tripping over them en masse? Maybe we need to have an in-service day focused on cautious strolling protocol.
And one more question: in what, pray tell, are our children supposed to carry their personal items, notebooks and other school supplies? Hefty trash bags? One girl somewhere out East faced this very dilemma and started carting her load around in a plastic, yellow sand castle pail. Come on! We have got to get a grip. Yes, someone hid a pressure cooker in a backpack and murdered innocent victims. That’s deplorable and hideous. But banning backpacks wouldn’t have stopped the Boston bombings. Believe me, they would have found another way to hurt people. That’s what evil people do. They figure out ways to destroy and ruin good, unsuspecting people’s lives. We need to address evil, not the outward accoutrements of it.
We didn’t ban underwear after the underwear bomber tried to blow up an airplane. We can’t outlaw every single item that some sick, twisted cretan uses to accomplish some heinous activity. We just can’t. It would be like…like…like…trying to eliminate peanuts from every elementary school in the country. Oh wait, we have done that.
Think about something you feel passionately about today. Now envision yourself 10 years from now. Do you feel the same way? Slightly different? Radically changed? A new study published in the January 4th journal, Science, asserts that most adults change significantly over a decade but when asked to predict their future selves, fail to recognize just how much change they will actually see. Huh?
According to an interview with Harvard psychology professor, Daniel Gilbert, in Health Day magazine, “People dramatically underestimate how different their future selves will be.” That got me thinking about my own life and how much I’ve changed over the last decade.
Ten years ago my political beliefs were strikingly…how to put this…different. But I think that has more to do with having and raising two children. Suddenly the whole “do what you feel” and “follow your bliss” approach to life seems to wither as you raise kids. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Or is it?
Teaching kids about right and wrong seems to make parents concretize their own belief systems in a way that’s hard to predict. The practicality of life, the ups and downs, the immense challenges that pop up unexpectedly, all of these change us, make us harder, less willing to trust the whimsical mysteries of nature. Well, not for everyone. But it’s worked that way for me.
I miss my more childlike view of the world. It was a view that allowed me to trust in the goodness of people, to always follow my heart, to imagine that a spiritual force greater than myself was guiding my every step. Nowadays I feel consumed by the violence in our streets, the senseless genocide occurring around the globe, the carelessness people exhibit towards their neighbors and family. But I sure didn’t see this coming. I thought I’d always be wide-eyed and open to the possibilities of life.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m still a fairly positive gal. I still find ways to express my creative spirit each and every day. I try really hard to believe that life has a purpose and that somehow I’m on a path, albeit circuitous, towards discovering that purpose. But I feel a constant weight, a heaviness, that rests on my shoulders as I meander through life these days that wasn’t there a decade earlier. That makes me wonder about where I’m heading and what life will look like in the next ten years. Maybe I’ll make a total 180 degree personality swerve and end up more like the bohemian, free-spirited person I used to be. Or maybe I’ll do a full 360, grow a goatee and pursue my dormant dream of becoming a Krill fisherwoman in Antarctica.
Daniel Gilbert explains that people are just not very good at predicting who they’ll be in the future. He tells the New York Times, “Middle-aged people — like me — often look back on our teenage selves with some mixture of amusement and chagrin. What we never seem to realize is that our future selves will look back and think the very same thing about us. At every age we think we’re having the last laugh, and at every age we’re wrong.”
Kind of depressing, no? I mean I hate to think that in ten years I’ll look back with embarrassment over my funky fashion foibles or trendy hair coif. Because looking back now, I can see that the whole Jennifer Aniston Friends “do” wasn’t my best look. But at the time, I thought I was red-carpet ready.
So we can’t accurately project ourselves into the future and we’re pretty much assured to be horrified by who we were in the past. Sounds like a lose-lose for all of us. Guess that’s as good a reason as any to live in the present.
Every day is the beginning of a new year.
I just realized that and Iʼm rather impressed with the depth of that assessment. Why is it that we all wait until December 31st to declare our failures, faults and foibles? I for one have the uncanny ability to notice every flaw about myself on a daily basis. I eat too much chocolate. I yell at my kids. I forget birthdays, flake out on lunch dates, hurt peopleʼs feelings. Itʼs a curse being so self-critical. But at least Iʼm honest.
There also happens to be a silver lining to my day to day fault-finding compulsion. You see, I also have the capacity to start anew, each and every day. And I take full advantage of that capability. In fact, I resign each and every night to love my kids better, to cherish my husband more, to appreciate the simple moments that comprise my all too complicated days.
Waiting for December 31st seems like a colossal waste of time to me. Plus, once a year resolutions are merely a way to set yourself up for failure. If you only go on that diet once every 365 days, youʼre bound to pork out and let yourself down at some point. Then youʼve got to wait another 8 months or 23 pounds (whichever comes first) to start starving yourself again? Thatʼs ridiculous. Iʼd rather enjoy my culinary bender, knowing full well that I can embark on my healthy eating campaign anew the next morrow.
If you act like a jerk on the freeway, cutting someone off either purposely or inadvertently, do you spend the rest of the year following suit until December 31st arrives? Then, and only then, do you pledge to be a better driver, with an improved attitude and kinder disposition? Why not recognize the error of your ways, and correct your rude behavior by the time you get to the next exit?
Or what if you joined a gym as part of your last New Yearʼs resolution and only frequented the joint a few times in January? Should you throw up your arms in defeat and wait until next January to kick your couch potato butt into action? Absurd I say. Go take a walk today, run to the mailbox two or three times, try a free Zoomba class at the Y. Get your body moving any way you can.
So, not that you asked me, hereʼs my suggestion for your 2013 list of New Yearʼs resolutions. Resolve to face yourself in the mirror every morning and not run away from whomever you see. Notice the blemishes, the wrinkles, the age spots. Then challenge yourself to accept who you see, to improve the things you can, and to recognize that weʼre all just a mess of imperfections, trying to do our best and often falling just a little bit short.
Happy New Year.
I have boundary issues. I never really knew this until recently when we invited our dog trainer to come to the house and assist us in curtailing some of our dog’s negative behaviors. I thought it was silly when she asked me go toe to toe with the sleeping pup at my feet. “But I’ll wake her,” I insisted.
“But she’s lying on your feet.” The trainer countered. “Just come around to the front of her and tell her to move.”
I reluctantly did as instructed and my adoring fur ball barely looked up at me. “Come on,” I said, “Move.” Nothing. Then the trainer walked up to her and sternly commanded her to move and she was up and out of there like a shot. “She doesn’t respect you,” the trainer determined. “You need to set boundaries. What do you do if she’s lying right in front of you usually?”
I gazed at the floor for a moment, like a child whose hand had just been discovered wrist deep in a decorative jar of Oreos. “Well…I…walk around her,” I confessed. “Especially if she’s sleeping. I never want to wake her up.”
“OK, here is the problem,” the trainer offered in a voice teetering on the edge of judgmental. “You are the leader here. She thinks she’s in charge. She is running the house right now. Frankly, she’s trained you.”
I felt embarrassed. I mustered all of my internal leadership qualities and strode up to S’more. “Move!” I announced in my best leadership tone. “Move!” She once again looked at me askance. “I am serious. Move.” I gently pushed her paws back with my feet. Still she lounged restfully. Finally, I clapped my hands, wedged my toes under her paws firmly and insisted, “MOVE.” She reluctantly arose and sauntered a few feet away to seemingly appease my unusual behavior.
“I did it,” I said gleefully. And that’s when it hit me. This isn’t a new problem. If you think of this microcosmically, this represents a much bigger issue affecting parents today. You see, this is the same problem I, and so many of us, have with our offspring. We’ve put their needs so high above our own that we’ve lost all sense of leadership and control in the relationships.
I never want to wake my sleeping dog. Even when she’s lying in the spot on my bed where I want to lie. That’s ridiculous. I see that. But it’s true. Likewise with my children. They want to go to the park when I need to work. What happens? We go to the park. They want to play games when I need to grocery shop. What do we do? We bargain. “OK,” I say. “Let’s play a game and then we can go to the grocery store.” In essence, I am living in a world of constant negotiation and cow-towing to other creature’s needs and wants. And I’m tired of it.
It is time to do what I want to do. Being a parent or an owner should not mean that you always have to do what everyone else wants. Sometimes I want to decide whether we go to CPK or SouperSalad for lunch. I want the choice of what we listen to on the radio. I want to be the monarch and all other creatures can be my loyal subjects.
So I’m turning over a new leaf. From this point forward I am in charge. I get to say what we’re doing, when we’re doing it, and how it’s going to be done. I’m serious. As long as nobody minds me taking charge. K?
Okay, so I broke down and went to a Chiropractor. Now I’ve been to Chiropractors before. In fact, I believe they do good work and can heal certain muscular, joint and alignment issues. But after my husband’s constant barrage of scientific studies citing all kinds of devastating chiropractic mishaps, I’d pretty much sworn off them entirely.
Until last week, when my writing partner practically insisted I go see his Chiropractor or else stop bitching about my constant back pain. I succumbed to the not so subtle peer pressure and made the appointment.
The Doctor had asked me to bring my MRI films, X-rays of my back, and any doctors’ records I might have about my herniated disc (L5 S1 in case you were wondering.) This sent me into a slight panic since I am, without doubt, the least organized woman on the planet. I spent the next two days dismantling my house in search of those damn films and records.
Miraculously, I found a thick, overstuffed manilla folder labeled “Healthcare – Debra” crammed into my disorderly file cabinet. A cursory perusal of the folder showed various films, radiology reports, and several detailed drawings of recommended physical therapy exercises. I proudly tucked the folder into my tote and headed out apprehensively to meet the bone-cracking doctor.
After a lengthy interview, during which Doctor John, as he’s called, took a lengthy history from me and explained why chiropractic care could help me enormously, he asked to see the films. I happily complied and turned over the entire packet.
He paged through the documents carefully, offering a few compulsory, “mmm hmms,” and nodding thoughtfully. Then he pulled out the stack of films and began to inspect them one by one. I admit that his befuddled look was slightly alarming to me. I worried that perhaps he’d discovered something even more serious as he examined the magnetic images of my spine. Too fearful to ask, I simply sat, perched on the edge of my chair, awaiting his assessment.
He held up the final film, looked at me directly and said with a delivery as deadpan as Bob Newhart’s, “Thank you for bringing me your mammogram pictures. But I don’t think they’re going to be terribly helpful in relieving your back pain.”
I was mortified. OMG, how did I do that? What an idiot! He offered a few comic, yet tasteful comments about how we women always seem to work our mammary glands into any situation. But even his lighthearted, affable tone couldn’t minimize my embarrassment. After a while, I did regain my composure and we moved through the exam and treatment uneventfully.
I like this Doctor. I do. And I’m going back. Despite the fact that I’m certain to be the butt of humor at his next Chiropractic convention, and will forevermore be shorthanded in the office as the “breast lady.” I suppose it could be worse. I could have brought him a colonoscopy report.
I know times are tough. I know Doctors have been given the shaft. They’re getting squeezed by the government. They’re getting paid less and less by insurance companies. Patients are suing them over mis-diagnosed hang nails. It’s not easy. Believe me, with a husband in the biz, I see the problems within the healthcare industry on a daily basis.
But still, this is ridiculous. Doctors need to suck it up, pull themselves up by their bootstraps, and stop wearing their hearts on their sleeves. Showing your sensitivity and exposing your insecurities may be the ticket for dudes on the prowl, but it’s not an attractive physician feature. So I’m sorry if you docs out there are feeling insecure, but don’t be so obvious about it.
I do realize that people are flaky and often forget about appointments. I think that confirmation calls are a fine way to insure your schedule stays on track and doesn’t end up with holes the size of the Grand Canyon. But what’s with requiring patients to call back and confirm that they received the confirmation call and will actually be at the scheduled appointment? It’s a pain of colossal proportion and I resent it immensely.
I used to joke that my dentist had abandonment issues because he was the only one I knew who participated in this silly double confirmation call policy. I found it annoying albeit slightly amusing. But the practice has caught on and it seems that everyone from the kids’ orthodontist to the chiropractor is requiring patients to call back after receiving their reminder call to reconfirm their intention to show up at their appointment. Really?
It’s kind of like sending a thank you note to a bride for her thoughtful note of acknowledgement over the Lenox place-setting you sent her. It’s like an endless, interminable cycle. And honestly, I don’t have time to call back every friggin’ doctor my kids have appointments with. Look, I took the time to make the appointment. I’m a responsible adult. Have a little faith in me, for gosh sakes.
I know that life is tenable. Relationships are fleeting. Disappointment hurts. But, you can’t live your life worrying that everyone in it is going to let you down. It’s just not…healthy. This kind of cloying neediness is unattractive and I’m telling you, it’s gonna drive people away in the long run.
Trust that you are important and that people will show up at their scheduled appointment times . Believe in your own internal value. You don’t need this kind of redundant external reinforcement. Your good enough. You’re smart enough. And gosh darnit, people like you.
They say the definition of insanity is repeating the same behavior, all the while expecting a different outcome. Argh. When will I learn?
My youngest son, Eli, who is now 7, had a serious cinematic phobia until about a year ago. We had finally conquered his fear of flicks on TV and the mini-dvd player. As long as he could run out of the room during the opening credits, he could usually manage to sit through a whole movie. Of course the film itself had to be entirely happy and without a shred of violence, fighting or insurmountable obstacles for the hero of the story. But walk him into a Harkins or United Artist’s and he went berserk. The last movie I tried taking him to was Toy Story 3 over a year ago. As soon as it started to look bleak for Woody, he freaked and we were out of there in a flash. So my 10 year old son, Levi, is totally into Harry Potter. He read all the books and has seen all the movies. Eli has also watched most of the movies at home with his dad and brother.
So when “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II” came out last week, we made a family date to go to the Cine Capri and watch the film. Both boys were super excited. I tried to prime Eli that it might be scary, hoping that maybe he’d opt out before I had to plink down 7 bucks and swelter alfresco in a long line of muggles outside the theatre. But he was insistent. He was a big boy and he wanted to go.
Once we finally got into the theatre, settled into our reclining seats, and dove into our healthy fruit salads that I’d smuggled past the ticket-taking teen in the lobby, the previews began. Now I have issues with previews to begin with. They tell the whole story and ruin the movie. They last too long. They’re often violent and inappropriate for kids, even in G an PG rated movies. They’re too friggin’ loud. I could go on. But it’s sort of beside the point. Anyway, we made it through a slew of gory “coming soons” and Eli, who was snuggled into his daddy, looked like he might be losing his resolve.
“We don’t have to stay, sweetie,” I said secretly hoping he’d “man-up” and tough this one out. OK, I admit it. I wanted to see the silly picture. “I’m not leaving,” he said with a slightly annoyed lilt. Then he sunk back into his dad’s shoulder, half covering his eyes with his still small hand that reminded me, bravado aside, he was still just a sweet, scared little boy.
The movie started, the music roared, and the dark energy enveloped us. “I do want to leave!” He screamed grabbing my hand and yanking me out of my chair. “Please! Take me home! I don’t want to see this, mommy!”
I gathered our stuff and we exited in one fluid movement within milliseconds. Safely ensconsed in the lobby, I suggested we stop and see if there was another movie he might enjoy watching while we waited two and a half hours for his dad and brother to come out. He adamantly refused. “Shit,” I thought, “The phobia is back with a vengeance.” I persuaded him though, and we paused at guest services where they happily exchanged our tickets for tickets to the new Winnie the Pooh movie.
Eli reluctantly agreed to watch Winnie with me. But once inside the theatre, Eli’s entire persona shifted. He was joyful, open and giggling at each and every cartoon preview. He gleefully watched Piglet, Rabbit and Pooh as they formed a posse to locate Christopher Robin who’d been stolen by a treacherous “Backson.” Watching his eyes sparkle and his wide grin filled me with happiness. “He loves this,” I thought to myself. Why did I even suggest Harry Potter as a family outing? This is who he is. This is what he loves. He’s still unbelievably sweet, gentle and naive, even though he tries incredibly hard to seem otherwise. Why do I keep forgetting this?
So we watched a delightful little film, with no real villains, no dangerous chase scenes, and no dead family members. And it was really, really nice. Just me and my little boy. Oh Eli, I don’t need you to grow up so quickly. I’m sorry that I keep being fooled by your big boy facade. You’re still my little man and I will try harder to remember that.
The “Backson” btw, was Pooh’s misunderstanding of Christopher Robin’s note that he’d be “back soon.” Oh, I’m so sorry. I just totally spoiled the ending for you.