We grab our yummy snacks and settle in for “The Revenant.”
This isn’t a feel good movie, but it is Leonardo DiCaprio and nature and pretty snow.
So, yep, I’m in.
I put my feet up on the railing in front of me, dig into the popcorn bag and prepare to get lost.
A minute before the theater goes fully dark and the trailers begin, a guy walks in with his four-year-old little boy. He has a blonde skater hair cut, “Star Wars” t-shirt and the sweetest little squeaky voice.
As adorable as he is, I am instantly upset.
This has to be a mistake, I think. He is in the wrong theater.
They are here to stay.
Another baby at a rated R movie.
So not cool.
My blood starts to boil and I want to go over and ring the neck of this “dad.”
What the hell man? Are you serious?
“It is none of your business,” my husband whispers to me and grabs my hand in an attempt to bring me back to date night.
I can see he already knows I will not have fun. I will not enjoy the movie. I will fume the entire time.
He throws a piece of licorice my way and silently hopes for the best.
It is too late.
I spend the majority of the film acutely aware a baby is seeing the same bloody images I am seeing. I can hear his little voice asking questions and each time it stabs at me.
Like the damn mother bear ripping apart Leo, I want to maul this kid’s father right here in front of everyone.
I’m sure people would applaud.
I mean, come on man. Are you for real?
The movie is over and luckily the dad escapes before I can reach him, because I have my self-righteous speech rehearsed and I am ready to unleash it.
I hold onto the anger the entire ride home.
I hold onto the anger as I climb into bed.
I hold onto the anger in my dreams…a mix of bloody gore and motherly instincts fusing into disturbing images of human hearts and dead babies.
I hold onto it the next morning as I drink my coffee.
In truth, I’ve been holding onto it for three days now.
I wrote three versions of this blog, with various approaches. From the sanctimonious, “I would NEVER let my kids see a movie like this” to the all-encompassing, “this is what is wrong with our country.”
Then it occurs to me…I just need to get over it.
The only person I am hurting is me.
No amount of fucking mothering martyrdom will change the images the kid saw. No amount of anger will either.
I hate feeling helpless and I want to mother the shit out of every kid I see.
But the only power I have is over my family.
I can’t protect other kids and holding onto the pain of it does nothing for them or myself.
I have to move on.
So I am going to watercolor paint, clean my house and work on my favorite new writing project.
I’m going to listen to David Bowie and dance in the kitchen.
I’m going to make homemade cappuccinos and hug my friends.
But next time I go to a rated R movie and I see a small child, I might not be able to hold back my anger.
Then again, maybe I will just leave.
Because all I can control is me.
And I don’t want to feel angry and helpless anymore.