My ex and I did something significant this past week. Last Friday, to be exact. Really big. Like super duper big. It may have changed our sons’ lives even more than our divorce did. I mean, I could be wrong, but I could be right. Want to know what we did?
We showed them the first “Star Wars” movie.
I know. I know! I KNOW! It’s HUGE.
You have questions; I have answers.
1. Which first “Star Wars” movie do you mean?
Well, I’m glad you asked. We agreed (thank God in heaven) that the “first” one is the first one that came out, namely: Episode IV. Episode I is the first one in the narrative, but we both agreed that we wanted them to experience not just the story, but the franchise history. In addition, the first two especially are very… commercialized and have lots of non-plot scenes and scenarios which I feel were largely included to sell toys. I know, it’s tragic. But I digress.
2. Why now?
Well, for a few reasons. First, pretty much every other kid five years younger than they are has seen it. Not that I care about what other people think of me not showing my kids “Star Wars” yet, but all of those kids have started talking at the park. And they know things. About important things that happen. And they were starting to make my kids come home with questions about paternal lineage. And more than once, one or both of my sons may have cried, “I want to forget what they said about Luke’s father so it’s a surprise, but I just CAN’T FORGET!!!!!!” That might have happened. It was time.
Second, LEGO and other such companies that make Star Wars toys have really harshed my buzz. They make books called things like “Luke’s Father is Darth Vader, Kids!” and they have pictures on toy boxes showing how you can “Transform Anakin into Darth Vader!!!” Yeah. Thanks a whole heck of a lot, toy companies. You ruined it a little bit and made an angel lose her wings somewhere up in heaven. Thanks.
It was time.
3. How did it work?
The Ex came over with cotton candy he had saved in the freezer from our Disneyland trip a million months ago. He brought chocolate covered pistachios (wha?! Amazing.) and chocolate covered pretzels in few enough colors for our sons to fight over them (although with my older son being color blind, it makes for a more limited fight to be quite honest). I made popcorn and tried not to care that no one ate enough growing food for lunch to merit all of that fun food. The boys curled up next to their dad on my couch and I puttered about the living room while keeping an eye on the screen for my favorite moments.
4. How did they take it?
Well, Little Man was nervous that he would experience something scary, so he held onto his dad’s arm literally the entire movie, smushed up against him–super cute. Both boys played with their upper lips at times, or bit on a thumbnail at times. But they loved it. They have heard all about these characters so they got to connect what we have told them with the movie magic.
Firstborn loved how bossy Princess Leia was, and especially how kvetchy she is while everyone is risking their lives to save her pretty butt. He also loved Han Solo’s attitude. (Don’t we all?!) When the Millennium Falcon first goes into hyper-speed, Firstborn’s eyes literally nearly popped out of his head. He made some small sound that was an 8.5-year-old’s sound of pure joy and delight. Movies are amazing. That’s what I thought. Look at how he has been transported to another galaxy, with images stretching his imagination to their limit. It’s amazing.
6. Religious connection?
The Force…it’s all around you. It’s inside of you. You have to harness it and study and master it and not let the Dark Side seduce you. Control your anger, learn to focus and meditate and harness that energy to make miracles and save people, places and things. Han Solo doesn’t believe in any of that ritual mythical Force stuff. He believes in only what he can see and touch and prove. But Luke trusts his teachers and he becomes a great leader and Jedi. He has daddy issues which he must confront. It’s fascinating. I love it.
I am glad we waited this long. Little Man couldn’t follow the plot so well at almost 6, and I know it’s entertaining to show movies to kids younger than 6, but I don’t really see the point myself. Even “The LEGO Movie,” which was the first film my boys ever saw in a theater, was too long for Little Man to stay focused.
I’m glad we waited this long. And I’m glad we did it all together. The plan is to try and show them episodes V and VI before the school year starts.
Have they already started complaining that they want to see I, II, and III as well and how close to age 13 does one have to be to see a PG-13 movie and maybe I’m the most unfair, worst mama ever? Absolutely.
So next time? No fun food unless they finish their growing food! That’ll teach them.
Just kidding. I want them to love the movie experience we have created surrounding “Star Wars,” and they will. We will take it one movie at a time. One bowl of popcorn at a time. One chocolate pistachio at a time.
Because after all, I am hoping to raise two Jedis. And a Jedi must learn patience.