This is something I will remember.*
It was Disney movie weekend on ABC Family this weekend: Mary Poppins, Lion King, Lady and the Tramp, Hercules. Daughter 2 wanted me to DVR them all. No problem.
Yesterday, she wanted to watch Hercules – not merely in a casual, nothing else is going on way. No, this was appointment TV: “We should watch Hercules… Are we gonna watch Hercules?” Each mention was more insistent, and sharper. and not just in that “I’m a teen and my wishes are the universe” sort of way.
The subtext is pretty clear. She hasn’t seen the movie in at least 7 years, when I sold the movies at a garage sale. Probably longer. Both kids just ate that movie up, back in the day. And that, I think is what was really at play. Returning to a simpler, happier time for her.
Mom and dad together, her and big sister, oblivious to the marital erosion; buds and fans of the movie, one wanting to be cool like the other. Movie days and ice cream. Toy chests. Even after the divorce, mom and dad at least civil; dad and sisters being the three amigos on the weekends, being silly and just happy being together.
Is it me or did the room get dusty?
She’s happy now, certainly. She belongs, she’s loved, she’s seen, she’s home. Home includes the closest thing to birth mama love possible. She certainly doesn’t wallow in melancholy. Boys and school and fashion, and ohmygod Shemar Moore is on TV.
But sometimes she happens upon a touchstone that highlights the contrasts between an idyllic past and the altered trajectory of the past few years, and the aches and scars and upheavals of the past two: outcast, traitor, afterthought. The three musketeers of me and the sisters is a coincidence now, and not a lifestyle. Even the sister/sister act is pretty well curb rashed by calling things “choosing sides” and by mom’s inability to lift one finger to promote the relationship,** other than to drive them both to the mall on custody days, or tell them to make the store-bought pizza together.
None of that can compete with being 8, or 5 and having 90 minutes of adventure and wonder and not another care in the world. Or remembering that past so vividly, for a few minutes it feels like you can touch it.
Hopefully, among the nostalgia, she heard this, and realizes this was her story and in this moment in her life, she is there:
I am on my way,
I can go the distance,
I don’t care how far,
Somehow I’ll be strong,
I know every mile,
Will be worth my while,
I would go most anywhere,
to find where I belong.
“Go the Distance (it’s from the movie)”
**or anything casting me in a positive light. She remains quite able to drive wedges.