Tackling hard questions (brought on by Disney movies)

Jan
2014
06

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Our family is kind of into Disney. And by “kind of”, I mean big time. And by “our family”, I mostly mean Josh and I. As in, we can go anywhere for our 10th anniversary in a year and half and we are already planning a week at Disney…by ourselves.

But our kids are pretty into it to (which makes it not weird, right??). We had passes last year and took Reagan and Charlie all the time and now they think that’s just a thing people do and are confused when we’re like, “Hey guys, there are 6 people in our family now and it’s a ton of money.” Oh, don’t worry. It’ll happen. But I suppose it’s good for our kids to learn that Disney ain’t free in the meantime. We’ve already got our first trip with Eva and Titus planned for the fall, but while we wait we’ve been busy indoctrinating them with plenty of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Pixar and Princesses. That’s right. Our girls love princesses. And you can’t make me feel badly about it.

So, obviously when Frozen came out we were willing to fork over the cost of an entire week’s worth of groceries to see it (Um, when did going to the movies get so expensive? And how long has it been since we went that it shocked us so much?)

We L-O-V-Ed it. Not only was the film fantastic (if you’ve spent any time with us in the last 2 weeks you’re tired of hearing us talk about it), but it was Eva and Titus’ first time going to the movies. This made it extra special. Titus seriously sat down in his booster, clasped his little fingers together and stared at the screen. And didn’t move for an hour and a half. Then when the movie was over he nonchalantly got out of his chair and left. I love him. Eva is basically like the Energizer bunny and doesn’t stop moving from 7am to 7pm, so she mostly just asked if it was over every time there was a pause in dialogue or darkening of the screen because she wanted to get up and run around in circles.

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Reagan and Charlie are accustomed to watching princess movies so they were all in before it began. Charlie totally enters into a movie. At a dramatic point in the film, when the entire land is covered in snow and the music stops and there’s total silence, Charlie stared wide-eyed at the screen and loudly whispered, “EVERYTHING ITH FROTHEN.” Reagan is 100% girly girl and so all she cared about was the pretty dresses and the castle. So if you ask her about the movie she will tell you about the part where Elsa’s dress changes and she makes an ice castle. Then she will proceed to sing “Let it Go” for you (with perfect pitch, because she is her father’s daughter).

Yesterday morning Reagan informed me that her main goal in life is to be Elsa at Disney World. I mean, can you blame her? I think it might secretly be my dream job, too. Actually, let’s be honest, I think I’d happily sweep the streets at Disney World. Anyway, as we’re talking about this, she informs me that she also wants to be a mom. “But mom,” she asks, “If I’m Elsa at Disney World, what will my kids do during the day while I’m at Disney World being Elsa?”

Oi. 5 year olds ask big questions. Now maybe that’s not a big question for you but it is for me. I have made a very conscious choice to stay home with my children and not pursue any career outside the home. This does NOT mean that I think it’s wrong to pursue a career. I know many women who do so, and I think this choice is a matter of personal conviction that each family has to work out in their own conscience and context. So it’s a tricky question to answer. On the one hand, our decision for me to stay home is one that reflects our beliefs about the home. And I want to teach those beliefs to my children. On the other hand, I don’t want to be weirdo conservative stay-at-home mom who’s daughter goes to school saying that her mom stays home because she loves her children and why doesn’t your mommy stay home? That’s totally unhelpful and uncool.

Either way, my answer went something like, “Well, mommy doesn’t have a job because she wants to take care of you guys. So if you wanted to take care of your kids you could always be Elsa at Disney before you have kids.” It was admittedly kind of a fumble. Thankfully I don’t think she was even listening at that point. Because she immediately followed the question with this one. “Mom, are stepmothers real?” (I can only assume that the train of thought that led to this went something like Elsa -> Princesses -> Cinderella -> Stepmothers. Because otherwise it was a complete non sequitur).

Gah! Why is she asking me all of these questions?? Another hard one, because the answer necessarily involves real life tragedy. There are two ways that children obtain a stepmother (divorce and death), both very serious and hard things to talk about with a five year old. As I stood at the sink thinking hard about how to answer this, she once again moved on to something else. Thankfully this time it involved a pretend game with Charlotte and did NOT involve any more questions.

Several weeks ago when Paul Tripp came and did a parenting conference at our church he talked about the three stages of parenting. The first is 1-5, that trying, physically exhausting stage. The stage where you just have to do EVERYTHING for them and are trying to teach them the basic principles of authority and obedience. And I have just been completely immersed in that stage for 5 years. Especially these last 6 months with FOUR in that stage (ARE WE INSANE?).

But the second stage is 6-12, and I can see it coming for us. Suddenly Reagan can fetch things for me and help around the house and is starting to read and can shower and is helping her siblings and having reason-filled conversations with me. She’s observing classmates and comparing our family to theirs and asking questions about it. She’s asking where babies come from (NOOOOO) and what happened to Eva and Titus’ mommy and daddy and will we adopt any more brothers and sisters (UHHHHH). Suddenly, where there used to be a chubby little curly haired baby there is a tall skinny kid and I’m kind of freaking out.

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You know what? This parenting gig is nuts. And I’ve really only just begun. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Could there be anything better than me than for my kids to ask me questions that force me to really articulate what we believe? Thank God for His Word and the Holy Spirit because otherwise I think I’d just be staring at my kids terrified all the time.

 

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