Across this country, Friday night is typically movie night for many couples and families. You scan the newspaper or Internet for show times, you see what’s playing near you, and you hop in the car and drive off to the movie-plex for a couple of hours of entertainment. It’s a tradition that makes up modern, American culture.
It had been a long time since Lee and I take the kids to see a film. Usually their mom beats me to the new releases, so my choices tend to be limited. Fortunately for us, Natalie and Daniel had yet to see ’Charlotte’s Web’, and given that it was Lee’s favorite book as a girl, the choice for this movie night was obvious.
We arrived at the theater debating whether or not we had time to stop for a quick bite before the show. As a result, I hope you learn from our experience. ALWAYS take the time to eat food before entering the movie theater. I don’t care if you’re 30 minutes late and miss all the previews, the cost savings are more than worth it. Needless to say, after dropping $40 for not-so-healthy food and drinks for the four of us, we took our seats and watched those annoying in-theater ads for the next half-hour.
The overall experience, however, was priceless. In addition to the fact the movie was beautifully filmed and you can never go wrong with talking animals (especially when the rat is voiced by Steve Buschemi), it was totally amazing to watch that film through the eyes of my children. The message of community and consideration, the touching storyline of friendship and sacrifice, the humorous moments that made my son sit up and laugh hysterically, as if a giant spider where tickling him uncontrollably – it was all worth the price of admission, if not concessions.
I have always maintained a certain OCD’ness towards semantics. As an aspiring writer, I always try to use the right words in the right context. As a result, I am not a big fan of when people say “spend time with my kids” or “spend the rest of my life with you.” To spend means to use up, exhaust or squander. The word implies waste, and there is nothing romantic or noble about “wasting” time with someone. Instead, I prefer to ‘share’ my time with my kids. Share thoughts, share food, share experiences. Share dreams, share moments, and share laughter. As Merriam-Webster describes it, “to partake of, use, experience, occupy, or enjoy with others.”
So it was that I shared my Friday night with my children and, of course, my Leelee. The fact that I could be there with the three of them made everything perfect. It’s moments like those that remind me of how blessed I am. It is nights filled with movies, laughter, and over-priced popcorn that strengthen the bonds Lee, the kids and I have created. It’s not just American culture, but the culture of the family I have in Natalie, Daniel and Lee. And if moments like those were cinematic stories of their own, they would definitely get two thumbs way up!