I sort of hate watching movies with John.
I have a little problem with my emotional involvement in movies. It does not matter how dumb the story, how poorly made the movie, or even how bad the acting. I cannot remember the last movie that didn’t bring me to tears. In my life. Movies always make me cry. (There was likely at least one scene in “Something About Mary” and “Meet the Parents” that even got me watery, that’s how bad this problem is.) And here’s the thing. For the most part, I don’t mind it. I actually enjoy getting emotional over a movie. I don’t even care when it is a completely feigned emotion brought on by rainy first kiss scenes and heightened with teenage love music.
Obviously, when watching movies in groups, I prefer to be ignored, but I can handle the occasional snicker. I can usually even block it out when someone taunts me with, “Wait a minute? Are you crying? This is making you cry?” Now that I’m married, I don’t go to the movie theater much anymore, and since having children, I’m not watching movies with a lot of groups anymore. It seems like my secret would be safe in the comfort of my own living room. But does my own husband adhere to either of these unspoken social graces for me? When I get to the scene (on my one-hundred-and-tenth viewing) in The Little Mermaid, when she hugs King Triton on her wedding day and whispers, “I love you, Daddy,” does he laugh at me or just pretend not to notice?
No he does not.
Instead, he makes weird little affirming coos and exclamations of how cute I am. It is worse than being made fun of. On a normal movie night, with lights dimmed or not, it usually starts with a few sideways glances, then progresses to full head turns. A little smile (not even a smirk, but more like that endearing little smile a person gets when reading an unexpected love note) creeks into the corners of his mouth, and suddenly, I feel myself start to sweat. “Don’t ruin this for me,” I’m willing him through my glands, “And stop looking at me. Just let me have this moment to myself.” His receptors never get the message. If the mood isn’t completely lost simply through the knowledge that he’s gazing at me with the same affection given to Dalmatian puppies at PetSmart, he never fails to seal the deal with this: “Ohhh, honey. You’re crying? That is so cute.”
“Nope. Not crying. Just blowing my nose on my upper lip. For fun. It sort of tickles and I’m trying to see how long I can stand not to wipe it off. Just a little exercise in self-control, thought I’d take a moment to work on it, considering my current runny nose, and everything.”
This afternoon I watched Tangled with Eliott. Despite the fact that the 90 minute animated film –with a main character whose eyes are literally as large as lemons– was interrupted once by neighborhood kids at the door (and joining them for 30 minutes to ride bikes) and again by dinner preparation, it still managed to make me cry. But then the most wonderful thing happened. Eliott started crying too. And not crying about something else, or because she was scared, or angry, or bored. She was whimpering and oozing a real emotional connection to the characters on the screen.
And I did exactly what John does to me. I sort of hated myself for it, but I just couldn’t help it. It was the cutest thing, um, ever. She crawled into my lap and we cuddled through the lantern release, the old lady stabbing the hot guy, the dramatic hair cutting, and the tear that saves his life (which Eliott clearly didn’t understand, evidenced by her question, “Is she sad because she lost all her hair?”).
The emotional moment was short lived. A little later she came outside and we had this conversation:
Yeah, but how come he chopped all her hair off?
Well, her hair was magical and people were going to try to take her to steal the magic so he did it to save her life.
And he died?
So how did her tears make him come alive again?
Uh… Because he’s her husband. And she loved him so much that when she cried, he came back to life.
Oh. One day, my husband’s going to die.
Yeah. My husband’s going to die, and do you know how I’m going to save his life, Mommy?
(Would I ever like to know, Eliott.)
I’m going to take him to the doctor. Yeah. And he’ll be fine.
We may be emotional, but do not mistake that for stupid. No. Definitely no stupid here.