Adventures in Motherhood: At The Movies

I took Noodge 2 to see the Disney Pixar film Inside Out the other day. She asked if I’d go with her and when your thirteen year-old daughter wants to do something with you, you drop everything and go.

When I asked Noodge 2 if she liked the movie, she replied with a shrug of her shoulder and a wrinkle of her nose. “I guess. It was a one and done for me.” I think she was trying to be nice for my sake.

You see, I loved it.

Here is the synopsis from Emotions run wild in the mind of a little girl who is uprooted from her peaceful life in the Midwest and forced to move to San Francisco in this Pixar adventure from director Pete Docter (Up, Monsters Inc.). Young Riley was perfectly content with her life when her father landed a new job in San Francisco, and the family moved across the country. Now, as Riley prepares to navigate a new city and attend a new school, her emotional headquarters becomes a hot bed of activity. As Joy (voice of Amy Poehler) attempts to keep Riley feeling happy and positive about the move, other emotions like Fear (voice of Bill Hader), Anger (voice of Lewis Black), Disgust (voice of Mindy Kaling) and Sadness (Phyllis Smith) make the transition a bit more complicated. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

Lately, my emotions have been running wild too. I have teenagers and having teenagers sends your emotions on a roller coaster ride. We all know I don’t like rides. Don’t get me wrong, having teenagers is a wonderful thing. They can dress and feed themselves, most of the time, you can have real conversations with them, as long as you don’t give advice or embarrass them in any way, you can leave them home alone and not worry about the house burning down, well, you can leave them for short periods of time, anyway.

Sometimes, though, it’s frustrating having teenagers. They want to sleep late. They think you were born yesterday and at the same time you’re old. They’re messy. We all know how I handle that.

But other times having a teenager is bitter sweet. You’re baby is growing up at the speed of light and you can’t slow it down and yet, you know you aren’t supposed to. The things that once made them laugh only get eye rolls and grunts now. You are no longer their hero, but their nemesis. They don’t want to bake with you, make crafts with you, play trains with you. In fact, their favorite thing to do is either sit in their room with the door closed or sit on the computer with headphones in so they can’t hear you calling them.

And yet, it wasn’t so long ago I was holding them in my arms reading them stories and tickling their bellies. They have forgotten the memories I still hold dear. Many times Noodge 2 clucks at pictures when she was a toddler embarrassed by her hair or her pose. I tell her to be quiet. Those pictures are for me. They are the reminders of my little girl who used to climb into my lap with stories and adventure of her Little People. Sometimes, I miss that.

Let’s get back to, Joy. In the movie, Joy tries to keep Riley happy by using her memories. Every one of Riley’s pleasant memories made me think of a time with my Noodges. Those memories no longer worked for Riley and it occurred to me sitting in the movie theater next to my teenager, those memories no longer work for her or her brother either.

That’s when I began to cry. Yup, I’m a crier. It’s awful. I cry at commercials, movies, stupid cards, songs, and the memories of my children when they were little. (I also cried the other day when Noodge 2 performed at her voice recital. So, their ages really have nothing to do with it. I’m pitiful.)

The writers at Disney Pixar hit it on the head. The character Joy wasn’t only Riley’s emotion, she represented the emotion of every mother on the planet. (Okay, not every mother.) Joy held Riley’s memories with love. Joy longed for the time when Riley was little and giggling with her parents, playing with her friend, or winning a hockey game. I can’t hold a memory in my hand, but I have photos and videos of a time when life was simpler and the time when my children would leave me was way out in front of us. Untouchable. Like a cloud. Yeah, well, now we’re smack in the middle of that cloud and it’s turbulence all around.

So, what’s the point of all this besides the fact I’m a crier? Live in the moment, maybe. Hug your kids every chance you get. And hug them tightly. Inhale their smell. Tell them you love them. Cherish the memories because they make you who you are even if those memories have faded for your kids. Maybe those memories make your kids who they are too.

So, my faithful reader, I challenge you. Go see Inside Out. Bring your kids or bring the friend you aren’t afraid to shed a tear in front of. I promise it will be a joyful memory.



17 thoughts on “Adventures in Motherhood: At The Movies

  1. Wow. I love this. I haven’t seen the movie (yet), but the rest of the post could have be written by me. I’m living the same emotional life. Hard, yet wonderful, isn’t it? Well done.

    1. Thank you! It is hard and wonderful. Sometimes I wish I could go back when they were three and enjoy them more. Worry less about parenting the right way and just hug them. They don’t like to hug so much now.

  2. We took the boys the other night. It was our first movie as a family and yes, I too cried most of the time. Two days later, I dropped the 9 year old off at sleep away camp. Waaah!!!

  3. OMG! I am a crier myself! I looked around at my son’s 5th grade graduation and I was the ONLY one crying lol. I saw that movie with my daughter and I want to take my son to see it as well. He has autism and there has been a lot of buzz at how the movie can teach autistic kids about their feelings and emotions. As a matter of fact I think we will go tomorrow!

      1. I took the kids to see Toy Story 3 a few years ago. I weeped liked a baby. Had to put my sunglasses on to walk out of theater and not embarrass myself.

  4. Stacey, they do grow up fast. My mother-in-law warned me about this–after raising four sons. It’s hard to believe my first born will be two decades old by the end of this year. I can still remember each of mine and how little they once were. Now I have to crane my neck to look up at two of them. The youngest is (by some miracle) still smaller than me. I too am a crier–dang sad sappy country songs get me ever time.

  5. You have outdone yourself, Stacey. This is THE best blog you’ve written to date. Your command of the written word rocks AND your wit had me smiling or laughing throughout–awesome job, writer/author/blogger-friend!

    Now you’ve got me wanting to see this movie–love the concept of the emotions being personified.

    Ah…kids growing up. I’m not telling you I didn’t play with mine or read them stories. (Books are done, but I still play tennis or Scrabble with Older Son. Younger Son recently got his driver’s permit, so I get to spend lots of one-to-one time b/c he always wants to be behind the wheel. As you said, when a teen agrees to spend time with you, you jump and go–and hold on REAL tight. 😉 )

    Still, I wish I had played with them more and not worried so much about the house, or paperwork or all I had “to do.” Not sure I’m a “crier,” but I do get emotional. When I’m really ridiculous, I blame the hormones–like on the day (two summers ago) I walked past their grammar school and got all teary-eyed b/c I wouldn’t “see” them on the playground equipment again. (Uh…that particular playground equip WASN’T THERE when my kids were small enough to play on it, lol.)

    Maybe mothers just get loony as we watch our little ones slip away into adulthood…

    And all is as it should be…

    1. Thank you, Joanne. Your words are kind and brought a smile to my face. I spent so much time worrying about doing “the right” thing as a parent I think I missed chances just to be with them. This past school year I had an epiphany. Noodge 1 was always missing the bus. I’d get mad and yell. He was messing up my morning. But then it hit me. Stop yelling. Enjoy the time with him. He’s going to leave soon. I stopped caring if he missed the bus so we could be together for those fifteen minutes. On the other hand, I may have created a monster, because he doesn’t care if he misses the bus. Mom will drive him.

      1. You are very welcome, Stacey. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this particular post and look forward to more. 😉

        Doubled-edged sword, this parenting gig–isn’t it? I’m spoiled b/c I haven’t had to do much driving to our high school for the past 19 months (i.e., when Older Son got the DL). Come September, I’m on again, until at least December, when Younger Son is due for his. I’ll try to remember your wisdom when my OCD YS is grilling me to be in the car at 7 (80 minutes earlier than I’m due at work, up the street from his school).

        I have to say, though, the time spent driving with YS now (with his permit) has an overall fun quality. I just ‘neck’ him (a.k.a. kibbutz?) a good portion of the time we’re in the car.

        It do go fast, my friend.

  6. I can tell you with all honesty that you will NEVER stop getting melancholy over your children. Just the other day I took out your and your sister’s wedding albums. I couldn’t hold back the tears remembering the time when both my girls left the nest for good! Your child is your child no matter how old they get to be, so fasten your seatbelt daughter, the ride has only just begun.

    1. Now you’re going to make me cry. Thanks, Ma! And what’s this “ride has just begun” business? You mean I’m not getting off and gaining my senses any time soon? I need a cannoli.

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