After writing a long post on our trip to the Calaveras County Big Trees for Good Enough Mother, I did exactly what I said I wasn’t going to do last weekend . . .
I took my oldest daughter to the movies.
I could say there’s some major, gigantic difference, that I’m not being a hypocrite, and I’d be truthful in that. Abbi, my oldest, took the other three kids – her sister and twin brothers – to the movies yesterday while I worked. (Pulled a Saturday shift…but I can take another day off this week.) I told them last weekend I wasn’t going to the movies due to the cost and the fact we needed to get out of the house. That’s why the trip to the Big Trees.
But today I took Abbi, my oldest, to the movies. It wasn’t because the other 3 didn’t deserve to go. I could claim it was a reward for watching those three while I worked all day yesterday – and it kind of was. I could make the claim that she’s going into theater and drama and she, therefore, loves these kinds of things. I could easily, legitimately, say all these things. That wouldn’t be reality.
Reality is that I took her because . . . I won’t get to share near as many nights as before with my oldest. I do an equal number of things with each kid . . . Hannah loves music and I took her to see the Who. I take her to ice-cream and we go on walks together. We play guitar and I help her record the songs she writes.
The boys have varying interests. Noah likes stop-motion so I watch things with him about Ray Harryhausen and analyze the original Clash of the Titans and Wallace and Gromit. We read stuff together. Sam loves Sci-Fi and Doctor Who and we talk about that and go see things and watch it together. That’s each one’s love.
But Abbi and I have seen movies since she was little. When she was 4 I took her to the IMAX theater at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and it had a 3D movie about fish. I still remember her, gigantic Elton John-looking glasses on her head, trying to grab at the fish coming out of the two-story movie screen. When Monsters, Inc. came out she had to see it because the little girl looked like her sister, Hannah. (She did, too. Hannah and “Boo” had a striking resemlbance) As a result, this year she saw Monsters University with the other kids. When Prometheus came out and it got the press of being Ridley Scott’s first Sci-Fi film in years she had to see it. I took her to opening night.
So on the last weekend before she takes the plunge, heads out to college, and lives with two other girls in a dorm room and begins an entirely new part of her life . . . I took her to the movies. Just one last time. She’d been dying to see Elysium because we’d both seen the movie District 9 by the same director. It wasn’t Matt Damon or Jodie Foster, it was the art of it for her. She loved how realistic it was and how great an actor Damon is and how brilliant Sharito Copely acted in the film.
I loved that one more time . . . just one . . . I got to go to the movies with my daughter before she’s more Abbi, the adult than Abbi my little girl. She hasn’t been that little girl for awhile now, and that’s something I wish I could have changed. Losing her mother to pneumonia that quickly affected all of us. It affected her, I think, more than even she wants to imagine. But if I had any influence on her life, I like to think and hope that telling her to do what she loves as long as she’s smart and does it well is the greatest influence. I have always told my kids they’re smart. They have brains filled with nearly as much useless information as I do – just haven’t seen as much – and that isn’t always a bad thing.
There could be a thousand different reasons for any number of things. For her today may have just been the movies, too. For me, though, it was one more Abbi/Daddy day before it all changes.
She’ll always be my daughter, my little girl. I just wanted one more trip to the pictures before it’s clear she’s not little any more.