Something funny happened to me when my nieces were born. I turned into this person who would do anything if anything happened to them. I became frightened of things that I didn't even think about before. I worried about stupid little things like how they felt or what they were thinking during certain situations. Rather then let them do something on their own, I wanted to do it for them. Protect them. Shelter them.
Then I learned that by doing so, they weren't really learning anything. And as they age, I'm actually the one who learns a few things. Now their mother, my sister, seems to know it all. I think it was in the manual she was given in the delivery room. You know, the one that all mothers get that tells them just how to anticipate situations and deal with things. At least, that's what had to have happened, considering that there are moments when she has to tell me to let them do it, let them live it, let them LEARN it.
Tonight I rented Akeelah and the Bee. A movie that I highly recommend. Not just for someone who has children, or is around children. It's one of those feel good movies that makes you think.
I should preface this with the knowledge that it's kind of a sure thing that a movie for children is going to have a lesson in it. Or some heartfelt meaning. Or something that will makes kids go hmmm when they watch it. My real point for getting it was to teach my older niece about the things you can do when you learn. The things you can accomplish when you try. The things anyone can want to have happen in their lives. What I didn't know was the lesson it was going to teach me.
There were a couple of moments in the movie that I had to really try and come up with an explanation for. Like when one kid mentioned sexual assault (uh, it's just a thing, I can't really explain it to you) or another moment that I won't mention for fear of ruining the movie. But these movies, that always end up having a lesson in the end for the kids, teach me something about them. Teach me something about myself. Teach us both something about how we both react to the movie.
I like that they make these movies for kids. That they aren't just fluffy little cartoons that entertain, but movies that make them think. We've had a few lately--Dreamer, Aquamarine, and now Akeelah. Aside from the fact that I was able to sit with my older niece (something she seems to be growing out of lately) and watch a lesson unfold in front of us and explain to her that there is nothing she CAN'T do and there is also nothing she shouldn't do because she's afraid.
I'm not eloquent, or articulate, and sometimes I really don't make any sense at all. But when I experience these moments with my nieces, when I see this dawning realization on their faces when they understand, something magical happens. It's beautiful to witness and it makes me feel happy to share these moments with them.
pulchritude \PUL-kruh-tood; -tyood\, noun: That quality of appearance which pleases the eye; beauty; comeliness; grace; loveliness.