Lover, not a fighter

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Thursday, June 17, 2010 at 10:45 PM

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We were given free tickets for the Harkins Summer Movie this morning. It was Ice Age 3, rated PG. I was hesitant, since my kids do not have a great track record in movie theaters (that's a massive understatement, actually - I don't think we have ever gotten through one). They watch movies at home, but something about the theater experience - loud volume, huge looming visuals, nowhere to escape - completely overwhelms them. But they were so excited, talked about nothing else for days, etc, so I kept my doubts to myself and away we went.

Sure enough, 30 minutes into the movie, there arose a tense scene. I have talked to the kids about conflict - how it is intrinsic to every story, how it helps us learn about the characters, how it makes the happy ending (because kids' movies conveniently all have happy endings) all the sweeter. But they don't see it that way. Manny the Woolly Mammoth and his friend Diego the Sabre Tooth Tiger were eaten by a giant Venus Fly Trap, and Devlin lost it. Totally lost it. He had watched much of the movie until that point slumped in his seat, ears covered, but when Manny and Diego were in (moderate) peril, nothing I said made any difference. I pointed out the comical music, indicating imminent rescue, I noted how much time was left in the movie - they wouldn't kill off the main characters already! - but to no avail. He writhed in his seat, clutching his face, whispering over and over "I wish we could just leave. I wish I didn't see this."

So, we left. What can you do? I don't want to feed into his fears and insecurities, but I have to respect a child with such a strong sense of what he can handle and what he can't. I don't want him to lose the ability to hear that Little Voice, that one that tells him how to be true to himself, how to stay safe and honest and happy. It's hard enough to keep that fire alight as you grow older, as the big bad world tries to push you farther and farther from who you are inside, from who you know you should be - even without a prehistoric carnivorous plant assaulting 3 out of 5 senses.

He's asleep now, finally, after a tear-filled bedtime, still worried over the fate of his animated friends. His bedside lamp is dimly lit, his Lambeys clutched in hand to ward off the bad dreams that I am sure will haunt him until morning.

I love him for exactly who he is. I love him because he's Devlin, because he's my son. I would love him just as much if he were a linebacker of a boy - a bruiser, a soldier, a rough-and-tumble thrill-seeker - the boy everyone has told me to expect from the moment I knew he was a boy.

Things being what they are, I guess I better start preparing his conscientious objector paperwork.

Comments (6)

I love him too.

This is so my son Elliott. It's good to know all little boys aren't tough guys. : ) he covers his face with his blankie during scary parts. If he has already seen the movie he runs out before the "scary" part begins.

What a tender little soul!

Oh, this made me cry. (Yes, the irony.)

Devlin is so sweet, always has been so tender, as Heidi so perfectly put it. He is the gentlest and kindest of little boys, which is just why we love him so.

You are so good to be sensitive to him, Rachel. Devlin comes from a history of tender folk, speaking as one. Age has not matured me out of naivety or sensitivity, but I've made out fine so far. I, too, volunteer anytime to be his tender buddy, ever should he need one.

Honestly, from what I have read from you about Devlin, and heard from Emily about him, I have hoped (before I had Clive, and still do) that I would have a little boy like him if I ever had a little boy. I know that however Clive turns out I will love him, but I do not identify with that rough and tumble stereotype.

it's lovely that he has such a sensitivity for life and living things. Shouldn't we all? I just read your fishing story too...i remember feeling that way about a fish or a bug or a bat, sweet.