Thursday, 28 April 2016

Return to Big Screen Parents!

It was a landmark day in the history of our 6-year-old family life.

For the first time in years, the four of us watched a movie together at a theatre.

Now regular cinegoers may scoff at this (what’s the big deal!) but couples (like us!) who gave up on movie theatres after kids, will know what I am on about.

As newly-weds, we loved looking out for the latest releases on the big screen. Often, it would be an ad hoc case of last minute booking, catching up movies on a whim.

When our daughter was about a year old, I remember sneaking out once to watch a matinee on our anniversary and then rushing back in time to collect her from day care.

When the second one came along, we still went to movies, albeit separately. Either of us had to be with the kids and it was much easier and stress free that way.  However, that meant giving up on the shared experience and the movie chat thereafter.

We did watch movies on the telly, though. The pause button on the remote control played an invaluable role, allowing us to take care of nappy changes and watch the movie at our pace .

It seemed to suit us fine. Years rolled on and then last weekend…

It was a lazy Saturday evening. The kids and I were plonked on the sofa watching Mr Bean. I was mentally reviewing evening meal options requiring minimal culinary effort. Suddenly P broke into my thoughts:

“Jungle Book movie evening show, what do you think?”

I knew P had an ongoing love for this childhood favourite flick. He had drilled “Bare necessities” into the kids and my 3-year-old boy had watched the animated version numerous times.

I had heard good things about the latest 3D movie too. But I did not think it was worth getting off the sofa.

I squirmed and put on my budgetary tone. “The tickets will be expensive.”

“No, they are not. There is a show in an hour’s time and the tickets are available. It will take us 20 minutes to get there. Are you up for it?”

Wait, was that a challenge? I caught his smile as I turned around. It appealed to my long-buried, impulsive self and I shot off the sofa. Teamwork saw us get out of the front door in half an hour’s time.

We were bang on time to pick up some popcorn and nachos. Soon it was a case of settling back on our seats and watching the adverts roll.

It was my 3-year-old’s first trip to the cinema. He was waiting to see his hero. “Where is Bagheera, mummy?”

My 5-year-old had her own concerns. “Can I hold the popcorn, please?”

The movie started. The storyline though familiar had a very modern and a high tech feel and the visuals were awe inspiring.  It was a movie that appealed to us adult viewers and kids alike. Much to my surprise, the kids who sat down at the start, got up only when the credits rolled.

It was way past their bedtime but they did not look tired or bothered.

Neither was I. It was as though we had all crossed a threshold. Just as the movie had come back with a new look, so had we – as parents.

Bye bye babyhood, welcome family time!

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