Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Little Prince is Hugely Awesome

I watched The Little Prince on Netflix the other night and can't stop thinking about it.

Not only was it stunning to look at, but it was so deeply meaningful. I mostly put it on to fill some time before bed on an endless day, an effort that is mostly futile now that my kids are at an age where they're reluctant to hang out with me. 

little kid was hooked immediately and within five minutes declared it a work of art. 

But then something interesting happened. Big Kid, 13 and bad ass, food/movie/humanity critic extraordinaire, wandered in and stopped. "Is that stop motion animation?" He asked. 

"I don't know. Is it?" I replied, because he'd know. 

It was. 

He paced around for a bit, shifting from foot to foot. 

We exclaimed about the movie's visual beauty...and he didn't disagree. He slowly, gradually, eventually...joined us on the bed and watched.

He liked it. We all liked something. 

I mean, it's more of a miracle than the Virgin Mary on toast. 

We were all so moved by the ending and the movie's message that there was even a few minutes of quiet contemplation and discussion afterwards. 

I CANNOT believe this movie was released straight to Netflix (no offense Netflix or movie). I would have been thrilled to have seen it in the theater, and I say that as someone who is meh on theaters (thanks to loud popcorn chewers and cell phone checkers). The fact that Netflix is my secret lover has absolutely nothing to do with my love of this movie and my level of "How lucky are we to have seen that so easily and inexpensively?" 

We were so blown away by it that each of us interrupted the movie at some point to exclaim over how amazing it all was, and everyone agreed each time.

The Little Prince was beautiful in every way -- to look at, to listen to, to think about and I can't believe it's not all anyone is talking about. I loved it like I love Up, and that's huge. 

So, you should watch it. Even if only for a couple of hours of peace and quiet. But it will be more than that. 

*I wrote this post as a member of the Netflix Stream Team. I receive free Netflix in exchange for sharing my thoughts on what I'm watching on Netflix, and sometimes Netflix and I flirt with each other a little bit. It's like a friends with benefits thing, but the benefits are Netflix originals and hearing me talk about them so I'm clearly the winner of this deal but don't tell them I said that.

How I Spent My Summer Vacation: Censored

The trickiest part of my art and heart being connected, and shared in such a public way (yes, we’re calling this art right now since “public display of my narcissism” lacks the same charm) is that chapters of the story have to go untold since not all of the characters in my book of life agreed to this, and their narrative would be different than mine.

 (But when I write that non-fiction book posing as fiction, you’re all so screwed, real life people who are hilarious characters.)

I had the summer of lost and found, more or less.  I put things down and picked things up all over the place: people, pieces of me, connections, grudges, emotions, perspectives that needed a nudge in a new direction, and cats — so many cats.

There was sadness and joy and drama and excitement and love and pain and literal blood and tears (cats), and it was all kind of terrible and also kind of wonderful.

I had 99 problems, for real, yo. And I still had fun and adventures and laughed until it hurt too many times to count. I'm down to about 9 problems now, which is average for me. So, progress.

Some of it may have seemed destructive but just like a seed has to crack open and shed its broken pieces to grow, so did I. And growth fucking hurts, by the way. Growing pains are real, but they happen in your soul. It’s disruptive and uncomfortable.

 The new thing you’re nurturing usually ends up a thing of beauty, but getting there is a bitch.

And I’m one of those annoying orchid-like plants that needs support so I don’t fall over or start to grow in the wrong direction — “face the sun and drink water” are instructions I can’t consistently manage alone, but I also can’t be overcrowded or I might die. So I routinely become parched and wilt, over-watered and droop; I try to lean on things too unstable to support my growth and pieces of me break off.

I think, “Shit, I’m dying,” at least once a week. Or once a day. Or once an hour.

 I don’t have a green thumb for plant life or real life, so it all takes a lot of work to thrive. But I’m more hardy than I feel. Also, I have observant friends — people who are just as willing to pull my weeds as they are to admire my blooms.

I’ve done the plant thing to death, haven’t I? And you still don’t know what I’m talking about. That’s why you should read books, my friends. They are pretty much obligated to clear up all mysteries. Rest assured that whatever you’re imagining is likely much more interesting than what I’ve been dealing with anyway, and that's what I like about you.

Anyway, I had to vague post so that we could close the chapter on this summer. Because it’s over. Thank the sweet baby Jesus in his lovely little swaddling cloths, summer wasn’t really forever.

But here’s a summary of the awesome stuff:

One of my friends bought a gigantic slip and slide. Enough said.

Catfish and I went to a Sowflo concert and got to ride with the band on their party bus. We got to do this because we’re officially, “I am with the band...’s dad” years old. One of their moms was our preschool teacher and we drank with her that night.

Here’s my favorite song of the summer (just a coincidence that the title is so appropriate). I love these guys and their incredible talent. And they're nice young men. I knew I was old when I found myself thinking of how proud their parents must be while watching them perform.

A stray cat had kittens in my back yard. I caught them all and have a feral cat colony in my bathroom and this is actually not a good thing. They make up a good handful of my 99 problems. I got a cute kitten named Calliope out of it though. But, my bathroom probably needs to be renovated now. Again.

I went scallop hunting on vacation and this was amazing fun. It’s like a treasure hunt to search for the ridged shell with the line of blue eyes peeking up from the underwater grasses. I snorkeled for hours, until my entire back was bright pink, and it was worth the eventual agony.

My friend Lyn and I escaped to The Standard, a sexy hotel in Miami Beach. When we got there, some guy at the front desk was complaining about something, and while waiting patiently behind him, I mentioned to her that it had been a dream of mine to stay in one of the rooms that has a claw-foot tub on the canvas-enclosed front patio, and the beautiful woman at the front desk upgraded us on the spot.

We listened to the Hamilton soundtrack all summer long. Big Kid said, “This is the kind of writer I’m going to be when I grow up,” the first time he heard it and little kid cries every single time and knows every word. This is one of those things that sounds little but was so big, and added such an interesting depth to our days and discussions as a family.

Big Kid (and I) successfully survived summer sleep away camp.

Also, I no longer have a child in the single digits age-wise. Not too upset about it, either.

And now the kids are back in school and life is settling down and I can rest easy that summer is not forever, and I am neither lost nor dying, just trying to grow bigger and deeper and brighter as usual.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Dear little kid,

Something incredible happened 10 years ago today.

I made magic. I -- imperfect, ordinary, often unhappy, kind of chaotic, half-glass-empty-me. I created it and grew it and brought it forth into the universe. I made a little spark of the very thing I wasn't sure truly existed. It came into the world with you, a golden glow.

You are curiosity, charisma, kindness, generosity, and wild and wonderful wit in one dynamic little package.

You find fascinating things because you're always looking and you're able to see the wonder in the ordinary. Your personality fills rooms. You seek out the separate and draw them in, allowing for an understanding exit if your attempts at connection don't work out. You are confident and brave. You see the best in others, always.

If something bad happens to you, your first reaction is to celebrate that it didn't happen to someone less equipped to deal with it.

You love freely, help generously, joke easily, approach boldly.

You are everything I want to be and everything I wish everyone else was.

You are a gift from the universe, a daily reminder to me that everything I want in the world exists under my roof. You really are magic, the very best kind.

Happy Birthday, little kid. Thank you for the honor of 10 joy-filled years of being your mother, and for the everyday reminder that magic is real. And that it is in 5th grade and leaves its socks on my floor.

I like you, I love you, and I'll always protect you,


Saturday, August 13, 2016

New Heights

"Did you see that some guy scaled Trump Towers using suction cups or something?" I asked Big Kid.

"I did. That's hilarious."

"The way the media is covering it is funny too, I keep seeing him referred to as only his first name. Wait, what was his name? It was something really aver--"

"Ted Cruz."

I laughed. "No, not Ted Cruz, that was the -- "

"Mom...I know. That's the joke. Can you go with it? I mean, with this election season, it's not even that unlikely that the accused Zodiac Killer would climb up a presidential candidate's building, right?"

I can totally go with it. This kid is getting smarter and funnier than me by the second though, and that's scarier than Ted Cruz's weird little smirk.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Dear Big Kid,

If your life was a road trip, I would find myself wondering why on earth we ever did even one mile over the speed limit, why we passed any other cars, why we didn’t make more stops along the way. I already regret every, “Are we there yet?”

You’re 13 today and you wear it well. This is both a compliment and not. You are moody and emotional, complicated and complex. You have opinions and insights about the world, politics, humanity, and movie reboots. There are things in your life I don’t know, which is a relatively new phenomenon. Or so I like to think.

You’re also witty and sweet, ethereally handsome, and still boyish in all of the right ways, even as your shoulders are broadening and your feet outpace mine in size and stride.

The teenage years are like a highway under construction — the trip takes on a new element of challenge, even for an experienced driver, with detours and barricades and near constant confusion. I’m learning to appreciate the traffic and the opportunity it provides to remember that this journey won’t be forever…and that’s the best and worst thing.

One day we will roll up to our destination and it will be awesome in the un-casual sense, in the true meaning of the word awe. The adult version of you will dwarf the wonder of the Grand Canyon. You are the gift that I have given the world and I am confident in my offering. I will revel in the success of our arrival…and I will mourn our journey’s ending all the same. I will lament those cheesy roadside attractions that I chose to skip, and the boring hours will take on the rosy glow that only nostalgia can bring.

I love you, Big Kid. My actual big kid now.

I hope I’ve planned enough and not too much, I hope I’ve made the hours pass with ease, I hope you know that I knew the way even when it seems like I didn’t. Because you are my way.

Thanks for accompanying me so closely on this leg of our trip through life, and for being the best guide I could give and get.

I like you, I love you, and I’ll always protect you.