Motherhood and Movies

First Week  |

Adelaide’s first week at home.

I used to never cry at movies (My Girl being the one exception). I prided myself on it – I just didn’t get that emotionally attached. Then, I met Tim and fell in love and it all changed. I remember crying during The Pianist so much that I couldn’t finish it. I literally could not watch it. I made Tim send it back. Over the years, Tim has learned that there are certain movies he can watch without me.

And it’s gotten worse since my friend Amy died of cancer and since Adelaide’s been born. I don’t want to watch movies about children dying or a parent dying and leaving the child alone. I don’t like to watch movies about spouses cheating, or children missing, or really anything about death in general. (I did not do well with The Descendants.) I like comedies and action movies. And that’s about all I can handle right now.

In some ways, the issue I have with sad movies makes me feel totally lame. When we were in LA on vacation last month, I had brunch with old friend from college who was an acting major. He had recently moved to LA after a successful acting career in another large city out west. He said he had done about as much as he could do acting-wise in that city – that the people there produced good plays but took out anything that would be controversial or make anyone feel anything. I got the sense that he moved to LA to take risks and make artful productions again.

Now when I have a hard time watching a movie, or just avoid it in the first place, I hear his voice in the back of my mind. What? You can’t feel anything? You don’t want to watch anything that makes you have an emotional reaction? It’s art. What’s wrong with you?

Motherhood has changed me in ways I couldn’t have predicted. I think differently about family now. I think differently about the world – I think more about what’s in the food I eat, what’s going on with our public school system, gun control, bullying, the environment. The list goes on and on. With the birth of my little girl, I became a mother (and some might even argue before that). My heart has spilled open. My insides ache with love. I cry tears of joy and tears of fear and worry. I am vulnerable to the world and all the things that are out of my control. I have so much to lose. I think the reason I don’t enjoy such highs and lows when watching movies is because I am already feeling so much.

I am still discovering the ways motherhood has changed me, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Happy Mother’s Day.

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