I Believe in Little Things...Like Movie Night
"Mom, Superman and Batman are coming!" he said and ran back into the living room, where he watched "The Justice League" with Justin, Johnny and J.J.
I was making popcorn for movie night and Richie was giving me minute by minute updates.
"Mom, Flash can swim really, really fast!" Back to the living room.
"Mom, Wonderwoman and Superman and, and, and (purses his lips and sucks in a deep breath to clear his mind, which is positively blown away by all this) and Flash are coming."
Earlier, the boys were fighting over who got to watch their movie on Friday and who on Saturday morning. And Richie kept saying, "Meenie, miney, moe. My mommy said I get to watch my movie first."
And Johnny said, "That's not fair. That's not how you say it."
And Richie looked at him like, "What's not fair about that? Meenie miney moe. It's my turn. What?"
They were both so excited and so adament about watching their movie that I said we could watch both. There's something about watching with your whole family the movie you picked out. With the lights out and popcorn on your laps, you want them to love it as much as you do.
It's a small thing. Renting a movie and making popcorn. I mean, it's not like sending your kids to space camp or going to Disneyland. But to them, it's the best thing.
Johnny said yesterday afternoon, "This is going to be the best night ever! We're renting movies, making marshmallows and having a sword fight!"
Richie jumped up and down at the video store, pointing to his DVD and asking, "Is that the Justice League?" and raising the roof with his hands when I said it was.
Silly kids. They think this is as good as it gets. Just wait until they're in high school. Family movie night will be the low point of their week. They'll complain to their friends about it. They'll have the prom to look forward to. And football. Or in Johnny's case, the science fair. And graduation.
Then it will be career goals and it will turn out those goals were mere stepping stones for new goals. They'll plan their weddings and spend nights in a hospital with a tiny baby that looks like a creature and it's their creature. And why does he look so wise, staring up at his dad. He just came into the world and he looks like he knows more about it than his mommy or daddy do.
And you know he's not supposed to watch T.V. Reading is the thing. And if he does watch T.V. it shouldn't be anything violent. Stick with Disney and PBS kids. And then somewhere along the line, he sees Spiderman with his older cousins. And it's big and it's loud and it's like nothing he's ever seen. And family movie night is born. Dad and mom watch just as wide-eyed as the hero saves the day and loses himself and finds himself and loses the day and finally saves the day and finds himself with Mary Jane.
And movie night is the best night ever again.
I read an article in the paper about moms in prison. Their daughters came to visit them as part of a Girl Scout problem. Do you know what one of the moms said she missed the most about being a free woman? Family movie night. She said they'd buy a bunch of candy and sit on a blanket on the floor and watch movies all night.
After the Justice League, we watched Hercules, Johnny's movie. It was a Hallmark movie, which I thought meant PG but in fact it had a lot of soap opera elements to it. Those gods were crazy.
At one point, Johnny burst into tears. Hercules' dad was carrying him away in a basket.
"He's just a baby and they're taking him away!" he cried.
We assured him that Hercules would be okay. That his daddy would bring him to a safe place. That he would rise to be a great warrior. And that sounded okay to Johnny.
I imagined a little boy like Johnny, sitting around the campfire in ancient Greece, leaning against a Corinthian column, hearing about Hercules. Crying at the cruelties he endured for being the son of Zeus, and thinking "Family story night is the best night ever."