My sister* found her husband wouldn’t go with her to watch Cinderella. Who could blame him? Disney, Fairy Tale, Prince Charming, Chick Flick! It doesn’t really scream ‘Target Audience: Northern lad in his thirties’.
So she asked me, and even I wasn’t too excited about seeing it. We all know the story and I have been avoiding going out all together lately; six months pregnant and huge and uncomfortable and feeling pretty sorry for myself. I had to go to the bathroom four times before it even started!
Besides – after having my son two years ago I rarely go out. I go to the shop or for coffee (down the road) or to mum meet ups or soft play – but it is almost unheard of me to go anywhere without him – and if he isn’t there, I spend the time trying to rekindle the romance with my other half; perhaps twice a year! So to be leaving the house without either of my boys and for something so frivolous and selfish as an afternoon at the cinema! Well – it was a surprise. But I digress.
After my many toilet breaks and stocking up on healthy, cinema, pregnancy approved, snacks** we settled into our seats on row M. Immediately I saw that we were the oldest in the screening (without kids). We were surrounded by sweet little girls buzzing around, giggling about what they were about to watch. I thought about our own upbringing on Disney and magical princesses and felt a pang for our youth – an awareness of our age now. My sister* made a comment about how lovely it must be to have a daughter and we waited for it to start, (not before trying to make her crack up by putting the pick & mix sweet fangs in my mouth and pretending to be a vampire).
And then you caught my attention. That is to say, your son did. You were both sat directly in front of me. I never saw your face but I saw your son’s as he turned his head numerous times to smile at you. He excitedly commented on adverts for new releases and laughed about funny bits with you. He turned around and enthusiastically smiled and interacted with you in such a way that I immediately thought “Goodness, what a well behaved, wonderful lad” (making me sound about 92). I assumed straight away that you must be a fantastic mother.
I couldn’t tell how old your son was (perhaps 7) it’s hard to tell as my son is only two and I never had any siblings to compare him to. Every time I watched you interact throughout the film I could see his absolute love for you and respect and appreciation of where he was, who he was with and what he was doing. I could see his happiness and his affection for his mother. There was no attitude, no ‘too cool for school’ stance and no surliness. You might be wondering how I could tell this just from observing a few glances and comments to you – but his sweetness was beaming out of him.
And I have a son too. Much younger than yours. He sometimes looks at me with love but mostly frustration and a blasé attitude – “where’s my lunch?” “Why aren’t I allowed to run in the road?” “When does Daddy come home?” sort of looks – more than the sort of affection I saw in that cinema. Of course, he’s only two! But one day…he won’t be. And from my seat all I could do was wonder how my own son will be when he grows up. Will he be as well behaved as yours? Will he be as respectful? As happy to be out on his own with me … watching a film like Cinderella?
I wanted to tell you what an amazing mum you must be. It is so important for parents to be told they are doing a good job – you might have needed it as much as I need it right now. But I knew I wouldn’t be able to word it properly (I mean “your boy is beautiful!” Tres creepy non?) I also knew I wouldn’t be able to get through it without sobbing, as my pregnancy hormones are at their peak and I was already blubbing at the bastard film (There is A LOT of parent death in Cinderella! A LOT).
As I watched you both interact, my second son was kicking happily away from inside my bulbous stomach. Our second boy and our last (two children is more than enough for us). I will never have a daughter like the gorgeous ones behind us dancing about in their pretty princess outfits. And that is fine with me. But it could suggest to some that outings to see Disney princess films like Cinderella would be a thing for other families. You showed me that that way of thinking is incorrect – and old fashioned. Not having a daughter doesn’t preclude myself (or my sons) from having an experience like that.
And if my son grows up to look at me the way your son looks at you, and to be so respectful and joyous to be out watching a film like that on a Sunday afternoon with his mum I will know I have done a bloody good job.
You have my upmost respect – and I hope your son knows how well behaved and impressive he appears to others.
Mum of two sons (one here and one on his way)
Your secret mummy admirer.
Oh – and the film was brilliant (multiple parent deaths excused)!
*not technically my sister – my cousin. But as I was an only child and I saw her more or less every day from five to eighteen – she is my sister.
** Pick & mix and an extra large bucket of popcorn
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