Friday Letter to My Kids –
Dear J, J, L and L,
You’re gonna think I lost my mind.
I’m haunted today by the movie “Land Before Time.”
I tried to drive it out by singing my super-shortened version of “The Wizard of Oz” soundtrack, but it wouldn’t leave. I tried eating chocolate, but that didn’t help. Homemade french fries might drown out the image. Maybe I can exorcise it by watching all three extended versions of “Lord of the Rings.” (That’d probably do it, but it would take all night and half of tomorrow.)
I think I just have to face the music and the script and see where it leads us.
I’m fairly certain that L and L have the dialogue and the songs committed to memory. In fact, a mini-soundtrack probably resides in every cell in your bodies. Or at least in your bones. You watched that movie so much I think we very nearly wore the tape out.
The main melody, the very first time, sounds nice and sweet. The four-hundredth time grates a little. I kept getting bits of that song sneaking into my head today.
Then I could hear Little Foot yelling, “Mother, mother!!” like he does, in that happy I’ve-found-my-mother-after-thinking-I’d-lost-her-forever way he has. And then I’d hear her answering him by simply saying his name, “Little Foot,” with a lilt to her voice that any child would cherish. But that was all I got all day. No other dialogue. No words beyond them calling each other.
So I had to look up some quotes and figure out what I’m supposed to get from this little haunting from your young past.
And there, as one of the first few lines of dialogue, my answer presented itself. I’ll share.
Littlefoot’s mother: Dear, sweet, Littlefoot, do you remember the way to the Great Valley?
Littlefoot: I guess so. But why do I have to know if you’re going to be with me?
Littlefoot’s mother: I’ll be with you. Even if you can’t see me.
Littlefoot: What do you mean I can’t see you? I can always see you.
And then, I understood why this little animated film from 1988 dragged itself out of the dusty recesses of my gray matter and danced around on the surface of my brain all day.
My mom, your grandma, just finished a weeklong visit here and, as you know, on the drive home had another stroke or something very much like it. When I got the call my heart stopped. Oh, she’s okay now, but once again I had to face that void, that inevitable nothingness. I don’t like that.
The Great Valley, for me anyway, serves as a metaphor for everything my Mom taught me and hoped for me. The directions for getting there, a symbol of her caring, all that she’s given me and her enduring love in spite of it all.
Poor Little Foot, so young and naïve. Oh, to be like that, completely oblivious to the possibility of loss, of death, of sorrow so deep you’re sure you can’t ever climb out.
“Why do I have to know if you’re going to be with me?”
Mom has always been with me. She’s in my bones, in my skin, in the way I hesitate before I answer. Even though I moved away from home a zillion years ago, she’s still a vital part of my life. Yes, she really is, even if we don’t talk on the phone very often or see each other more than once or twice a year. Just knowing she’s a phone call or a day’s drive away makes life okay. Some day things won’t be okay. Ouch.
I guess what I want to say is this:
“I’ll be with you. Even if you can’t see me.”
That’s what I want to feel and believe about my own Mom. That’s what I hope you feel and believe about me. Although, I plan on sticking around and haunting you, in real life, for a long, long time.
Also, be careful what movies you let your kids watch a gazillion times over, it’ll probably come back to haunt you in some very strange ways.
p.s. Here’s the song “If We Hold On Together” if you want to listen to it.
“Let your heart guide you. It whispers so listen closely.” ~Land Before Time