Dear Peanut and Munchkin,
I’ve noticed something with the last couple movies I’ve seen. Daddy and I don’t often have the opportunity to see a movie in the theater, so the last two movies we’ve seen have been Brave (six months ago) and Les Miserables (last night).
On the surface, Brave is the story of a young princess facing a political marriage, but there is another storyline concerning her relationship with her mother. I found myself much more affected by the latter, while I probably wouldn’t have felt it as deeply before you came along. Your dad felt it, too. Even Disney movies take on new meaning as a parent, it seems.
As we drove to the theater last night, Daddy and I were talking about our expectations for the movie. Daddy has seen the musical on stage many times, the first time on Broadway. I’ve seen it twice, when the show was on tour. The last time, though, was before we had kids.
The movie was excellent, but sure enough, I found myself identifying more as a parent with some of the more subtle themes of the story. I could put myself in Fantine’s place, worried about what would happen to her daughter if she could no longer earn money for her care. When Valjean sang how much his life had changed through the love and trust of a child, I thought about how true that is. When the women reflected on the early lives of the young men who died, I felt my heart seize up; those young men had been somebody’s babies.
And finally, Valjean’s efforts to ensure Cosette’s happiness – without him – just wrecked me. I know successful parenting means teaching you to be independent, contributing members of the world. I know there will be much joy when you grow into adults and set out on your own paths in life. I’m sure we will be proud of you. But it will still be hard to watch you go.