Walt Disney Made Me Cry

I took Little Man to see The Lion King this afternoon. It ended up being a truly memorable experience that I have to write down and preserve.

Although I hadn’t watched the movie since it’s days of being on repeat when I was a kiddo, I have often thought fondly of it throughout recent years. When Little Man was a newborn, just home from the NICU, the three of us were sitting on the couch basking in finally being home together. The Hubs, being the jokester he was, was saying something about how Little Man had taken over as king of the house when he reached over and rubbed his thumb over the baby’s forehead and said “Siimmbaa”. After that, it became a little joke and The Hubs would often pick Little Man up and hold him up high out in front of him with both hands, like he was ‘presenting’ him on Pride Rock. I even managed to catch that on video one night, on one of the few short captures I have of the two of them together. Because of these things, I’ve subconsciously connected The Lion King with my two boys. When I heard it was coming to the theater, I was excited to take our little guy.

What I didn’t stop to think about was the fact that the entire movie is about a little boy who lost his Daddy.

I cried like a little baby in that theater, surrounded by a bunch of little kids and their parents, with Little Man beside me gobbling up a rare treat of M&M’s. The tears started flowing in the very beginning when I saw our special scene, with the thumb-print and lifting of the baby lion. I expected to be touched by that, but didn’t expect to snot all down the front of my shirt and need to use Little Man’s blankie as a tissue for the rest of the movie!

I boo-hooed when Mufasa sat with the young Simba and told him, “Look at the stars. The great kings of the past are up there, watching over us … So whenever you feel alone, just remember that those kings will always be there to guide you. And so will I.” All I could think was ‘Seriously, Disney?!’

I cried again when Mufasa died, especially when Simba was searching for his father and calling out “Dad?” Little Man, in the loud voice of a two-year-old who doesn’t understand theater etiquette, cried “Oh no, he misses his Daddy.” ‘You’re killin’ me, kid!!’

I bawled when the grown-up Simba saw his father in his reflection in the water and Rifiki said, “See? He lives in you.” The tears flowed as the ghost of his father said, “Remember who you are. You are my son, and the one true king. Remember…” ‘Oh geeze, what I was thinking?’

And then at the end of the movie, when the newly-throned Simba stands on the edge of Pride Rock and sees his father in the clouds, I pulled Little Man into my lap and weeped into his hair as he said, “Look Mommy, his Daddy is in the clouds, too!” ‘Oh dear God, I’ll never watch this movie again!!’

My internal commentary was in high gear throughout the entire movie and when we left, I felt seriously drained. What I had intended to be a nice Mommy/Son outing turned into a cry-fest. Thankfully Little Man didn’t seem to notice, although he did give me extra snuggles so he must have picked up on my mood.

My first reaction to the entire experience was ‘No way am I watching that movie again’, but then the more I thought about it I realized it was actually quite the blessing. A simple Walt Disney movie created a beneficial experience for both myself and Little Man. I allowed myself a release, in public too which is huge for me, and I forced myself to face something from our past. And Little Man was able to find a little more understanding, in a way that is geared toward children, about the difficult parts of his life he is just starting to notice. Now, when we talk about Daddy in the clouds and why he can’t see him like everyone else, he will make a connection and understand a little more as he relates back to what he saw.

It’s crazy how little things in your day can become big moments and leave such an impact on your perspective. A movie I once loved as a child has now become one that will forever be special for my son and I. Who would have known back then that one day I would watch that movie again and use it to assemble another piece of my broken puzzle? I’m thankful.

jen de jong

beautiful, Erin. And now I’m in tears, too!

Krystal Russell

Jen said it first you have me in tears and this is beautiful.

monica chaney

Now I have tears too. Love you. beautiful story.

Heather

As I drove past Gator Cinema the other day and saw the marquee, I thought to myself, “You know, I bet H is old enough now for that movie. He should see it. It would mean a lot.” I am so happy to know it did. Love you guys

Disney movies ALWAYS make me cry. It’s like it’s their goal or something. I have a 2 year old as well and she’s already perfected the art of asking mommy if she’s ok because of a damn movie. *sigh*
This was beautifully written. I’m glad you have help in your healing, no matter where it comes from.

Oh Erin – While this made me cry, it also made me laugh out loud. I too have watched a movie thinking….what the hell? why am I doing this to myself? I didn’t realize it was about a widow or a husband about to die from cancer.

Baby Steps Lead to Big Girl Leaps

I’ve taken a big step. A leap of faith, of hope.

Well I guess I’ve not quite taken it yet, but I have determinedly made the decision to do so, which is just as important.

I’ve decided to start therapy.

I tried counseling once before, a little over a year ago, at the urging of a good friend. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a good experience and didn’t last very long. It nearly turned me off to the idea altogether and I didn’t anticipate trying it again. However, time has allowed me to see now that the experience was simply a case of a ‘poor fit’. The psychiatrist wasn’t very comfortable with what I brought to the table and our outcomes were not focused in the same direction, and I wasn’t strong enough to ask for what I wanted or expected. Sadly we didn’t mesh well, so it wasn’t beneficial.

I’m now strong enough to realize that I do need this and I am ready to stand up and speak up for myself. So I am going to start the journey of finding the right person, forming a proper client/therapist relationship, and delving into my issues. It’s a hard step to take — hell, it’s hard enough to realize that you need therapy, much less actually persevere through the hard work of fighting through it. It’s not going to be easy to face my pain, my fears, my shortcomings — but my loved ones deserve it, the Little Man deserves it, The Hubs deserves it, and yes I am ready to say that I deserve it.

I am ready to face my painful past, my lonely present. I am ready for a happy future. And I am ready to say I need help to get there.

It is my hope that if, as you are reading this, anything I’ve said strikes a chord with you, you’ll feel the same strength I am now filled with to take that first step, no, to leap boldly, to own your future. You deserve happiness. You deserve peace. You deserve resolution of your pain, your fears, your past that haunts you.

Seeking help does not make you weak. It makes you strong.

Blast from the Past

October 8, 2009

I think something is wrong with me. As in, I am actually going crazy or something. I am not sad, I am not crying, I am not upset. I just feel normal. I really and truly feel like he isn’t gone, he is just still deployed and will be coming home soon. Like the past three weeks were just a really horrific nightmare and are over now. Like all of this ‘grief’ and ‘loss’ stuff is really happening to someone else and I am just playing a role. I must be really nuts. But I really think I’d rather carry on this way than face it.

Two Years

I am at a loss for words.

Two years is harder than one year. Harder than one day.

We miss you. You are so loved.

SSgt Bryan Berky

22 March 1984 — 12 September 2009

KIA Afghanistan

Hugs beautiful. Im keeping you and the family in my thoughts and prayers. Don’t expect this to be easy, I know it wouldn’t be on me either. You are a very strong individual, hang in there. I know we don’t know each other all that well, but im here for you today, tomorrow, next week, a year from now, etc. if you need anything!

monica chaney

DOnt know what to say but loved what you said. u said it all.

You are right. Two years is harder than one year. But as I approach three years, I think it’s going to be easier than the past two. Thank you for sharing.

Claire

Erin,
I have been following your blog through Brenda. I am sending you love today <3

Jerry

If someone out there can tell me what Brian’s favorite color is it would be much appreciated. I did not know him but am doing a project for EAFB that I would like to incorporate his favorite color into the design. Subdued but those that know him may have a tie to the facility.

Erin

Jerry, I am sending you an email!