The longest holiday break EVER was unceremoniously lengthened further due to the Great Minnesota Freeze-Out. Around day 18 we were attempting some "special" family time. By special I mean no one was yelling, hitting, eye rolling , or whining within a 45 second time frame. Thing 2 had been coping through Wii Dance Dance Revolution and Thing 2 was drawing and building masterful Pokemon decks with neighborhood kids. Not every Lego in the house had been used, but it sure felt like it. We'd also done our fair share of bread baking, reading and art, but it was clear that even cocoa and popcorn and our new board games were losing their appeal. At the crux of family restlessness, we needed a new scene and so I brought out a movie, Howl's Moving Castle. It's a Japanese animation film that had won a few awards. Though it isn't something I would normally choose, I trusted the friend who recommended it. Besides, I was all out. I had nothing and thought something new might settle us (me) down.
And so we watched the movie, and we kept watching it though I will confess I thought it was weird. People became creatures who slithered while walking. A cart became a flying rug and men sprouted wings. Huh? There were more twists and turns in this film than in the stairs and long hallways those poor maids and butlers must navigate in Downton Abbey.
But the newness, the "hmm....I've not seen this before" kept us (ok, ok! them! my mind wandered a lot) glued. One of the main characters is a young girl who becomes an old woman through some spell. She changes from young to old and back again throughout the film, and it's not clear onto which side she will land until the very end. And so of course you (they) keep watching because, well, wouldn't you want to know? (I kinda did, but I wasn't that invested, ok? I was just glad there was no fighting between among troops). And besides, as I mentioned, we (I) had nothing else.
But as we were twisting and turning toward the end, Thing 2 sensed something.
"No!" he cried. "This cannot end with a kiss!"
The poor guy (you know he is 10, right?) sees this coming and cannot take it. He has hung in there through witchcraft and shape shifting and magical thinking only to be blindsided with a pat ending? My boy's face was priceless, a contortion of pain at the unjust world we live in.
But wait! Right before what is sure to be a loving embrace, there is a pause and then a sweet verbal exchange that goes on much longer than we could have predicted. Finally the pinnacle of his horror is realized through the dreaded (but brief) kiss.
"What!" screeched Thing 2. He was astounded. "A conversation AND a kiss?? Oh god!!" He dropped his head in his hands in utter defeat.
Big Man smiled. I laughed out loud. And neither of us chose to enlighten him. We felt he was not yet ready to hear that if things work out well, you really might not want to get one (the kiss) without the other (the conversation).
We'd had around two scream-free hours until this point so we both just sort of shrugged and listened to him moan. He will learn in his own time and on his own terms....though it appears it won't be any time soon.
And guess what? I was informed that next time, he's picking the movie.