Posts Tagged ‘ parenting ’

The Real Villain In Disney’s Frozen: The Parents Of Elsa & Anna

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

3 years, 5 months.

Dear Jack,

Had you been born a girl, I assume our family would have already seen Frozen a minimum of 37 times. However, you were born a boy, which means we just saw it for the first time this past weekend.

There’s no question it’s a great movie, worth all the hype it’s received as one of the greatest Disney movies- I’m just simply acknowledging that you personally were more impressed by The Lego Movie- and I think a lot of that has to do with you being a boy.

Meanwhile, your (girl) cousin Calla, who is very close to you in age, is completely obsessed with Frozen… has the soundtrack, toys, dresses, and whatever else merchandize I’m not thinking of right now.

I personally really enjoyed Frozen. But as someone who loves to analyze things, having studied Literary Criticism as part of the requirements for obtaining my English degree, I couldn’t help but notice that for such an epic Disney musical, there was no official villain.

The Little Mermaid had Ursula. The Lion King had Scar. Aladdin had Jafar.

But as for Frozen, Prince Hans is the assumed villain because, near the end of the movie, he proves to be a jerk when he makes it clear he was only trying to use Anna to become a more powerful ruler.

However, Hans was not the character who who ultimately introduced the agency of evil in the plot. He simply tried to take advantage of the situation after the plot had been established years before in the storyline.

Some might say Elsa, the older sister with the superpowers, was the villain- but it’s pretty clear she’s a victim who never wanted to hurt her sister Anna.

The way I see it, Elsa was simply the victim of her parents’ horrible (yet not intentionally evil) decision to keep their only children from communicating during most of their childhood, leading into adulthood.

Seriously, how messed up is that?!

Not to mention, Elsa learned to become ashamed of her special ability and cut herself off from not only her sister, but basically, the outside world.

So by default, the parents of Elsa and Anna, the King and Queen of Arendell, are responsible for whole darn crisis happening.

Though they died in the beginning of the movie, like most Disney parents seem to do, I didn’t even feel sad. Because for me, I felt like the villains were removed from the movie at the beginning, instead of the end.

Therefore, it provided for a more emotional plotline and resolve.

The pay-off, I suppose, is that by teaching Elsa to hold in her emotions most of her developing years, she was able to write and sing “Let It Go,” which is a song no one can get out of their head without having to overwrite it with something super annoying like “Karma Chameleon” or “Macarena.”

With all this being said, Frozen is a wonderful movie about love and forgiveness. I definitely appreciate the fact that the “villain” is not obvious. It’s one of the things that makes Frozen really stand apart.

In fact, I think it would have actually taken away from the importance of restoring the relationship of Elsa and Anna, had there been an official villain who further agitated the characters.

Elsa and Anna saved themselves- they didn’t have to be saved by a prince who defeated a bully. For me, that aspect made the movie more realistic and relatable.

But I’m guessing at age 3, you probably didn’t pick up on anything of this. You did, however, love Olaf and Sven.

 

Love,

Daddy

 

Images courtesy of Disney.

 

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I Travelled Through Time And Space To Get To You

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

3 years, 5 months.

Dear Jack,

People are fascinated by the concept of time travel. I can understand why.

Only God is not limited by time or space. 

However, we as human beings are stuck in the 70 year lifespan we are assigned. No such thing as a re-do for even just one day.

We can at least learn from our mistakes, but we can’t go back in time to change our past in order to ultimately change our future.

Still though, I think I keep secretly hoping that one day I can. It’s stupid to think that, I know.

I could have been a much more knowledgeable, helpful husband and father and son and brother and friend if only I knew then what I know now.

Not being able to time-travel puts us in an annoying situation where we have to make things right, ourselves- as people allow us, after the fact.

Saturday, Mommy picked up Frozen (more on that in the next letter) for you from Redbox and a movie called, About Time, for her and me.

When I saw the cover with Rachel McAdams, I assumed it was just another version of The Notebook.

I was wrong. It was more of a barely R-rated version of Marley And Me, without the dog, but with a plot line involving time travel. 

It features the close relationship between a father and his adult son, as they both are able to time-travel to events in their own life in order to relive them for the better.

They eventually begin reliving each day, right after it happens, in an effort to catch all the subtleties they missed the first time.

There are those missed opportunities to smile at someone, to make someone laugh, or to just simply appreciate the otherwise uninteresting parts of life with the people they encounter.

The son begins realizing he no longer needs to go back and relive each day, as he sharpens his ability to truly appreciate those “lesser” moments. He begins enhancing the lives of his family, and strangers, in the process.

But I guess I don’t have to time-travel to learn that same lesson.

Actually, I feel that watching the movie twice over the weekend has actually helped changed my thinking for the better.

The movie points out that we are all travelling through time each day and it’s up to us how we manage that time the first and final time through it.

It just so happens, you and I are travelling through time together. You’re stuck with me, kid.

I loved that the theme song of the movie, which is featured throughout, is “The Luckiest” by Ben Folds. That was the song that Mommy and I had for “our song” at our wedding nearly 6 years ago.

“The Luckiest” points out how much it matters that two people are born in the same span in the history of the world so that they can know each other and be close.

Had I been born a hundred years ago and Mommy was born in 1981, as she truly was, then you wouldn’t exist. The three of us wouldn’t exist as a family.

But I believe we were meant to be together in this life in which we travel through time together.

This movie, About Time, helped remind me just how special and important  it is to be alive during the time I am… with the people I am here with.

 

Love,

Daddy

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Strawberry Banana Quesadillas On The Dark Side Of The Moon

Sunday, May 11th, 2014

3 years, 5 months.

Dear Jack,

Last Saturday morning after you and Mommy made Strawberry Banana Quesadillas for breakfast, which we all loved, we decided to use the creative parts of our brains by doing some artwork together.

In our closet, you discovered some colorful foam sheets to draw on with markers. Mommy and I drew some animals per your request, while you worked on abstract pictures.

After each time you finished a new work of art, you held out the newly colored foam sheet in air and announced your next creation:

“Hey Daddy, look… this is a Skittle Fan. I think it’s an animal.”

You then explained to me your intentions. You planned to make enough works of art so that you can give one to each of your friends at school. Awesome idea!

My favorite was the last one you did. You announced to me:

“Daddy, this one is a dark, sedway moon. I think I dream about these things at night.”

Dark, sedway moon… So mysterious, so profound.

What if you really do dream about dark, “sedway” moons and your artwork is actually a window to what you dream about at night?

What if your abstract dreams will predict the future of what will happen in real life? Like a prophetic dream?

What if this is the premise of a PG-13 rated psychological thriller movie starring Robert De Niro or Greg Kinnear?

I think it could be. Hollywood will be calling me soon for the movie rights… I’m sure of it.

Or maybe I’m thinking too much into it. Actually, I think I just figured it out right now as I’m typing this: Maybe “sedway” is just your way of trying to say “side of,” as in, “dark side of the moon.”

Maybe you and I should play Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of The Moon while watching The Wizard of Oz. Or at least watch the 3rd Transformers movie.

I wasn’t even for sure that you dreamt at all yet. Now I know.

You are a fascinating kid, you know that?

Just another typical Saturday morning: Strawberry banana quesadillas and dark side of the moon.

 

Love,

Daddy

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Father-Son Fight Club: The 1st Rule Is…

Saturday, May 3rd, 2014

3 years, 5 months.

Dear Jack,

I promise it was your idea. I’m only going along with it… with a completely clear conscience.

Since last weekend, you’ve started this thing where you come up to me, punch me in the chest as hard as you can, laugh, then say, “Let’s fight, Daddy.”

And what do I do? I “fight” back.

Well, the difference with my response to you is that I obviously don’t punch you as hard as I can.

I actually am “punching” you back as lightly as I can.

Here we are, a week into it, still hittin’ strong and I’m only seeing positives:

I like to see the confidence you’re gaining in yourself.

I like the way you and I are bonding over it.

I like how you get to test your own physical strength against mine, knowing that less than a second later you’ve got a soft “punch” coming right back at your chest or stomach.

The way I see it, it’s no different than male wolves of the same pack practicing their fighting moves on each other. The way I see it, I am giving you introductory “man lessons.”

Most importantly, you’ve yet to punch any of your friends at school. That’s because I had a little talk with you last weekend before you went back to school on Monday. I explained how the only person you can punch is me.

And you listened!

Like I mentioned, I can’t help but notice the bonding that has occurred since we started our “father-son fight club.” Here recently, you actually have been asking me to sit next to you on the couch. Then, you lay your arm across mine.

That used to be an action you saved for Mommy and never granted me.

So whatever inspired you to start punching me, I’m glad it happened.

Granted, for all I know, I may not be the best example of a parent.

Maybe my stories about us wouldn’t be the kind you’d expect to ever see on a parenting website or something.

But between you and me, I think we have a good thing going on!

It’s our little secret. After all, the first rule about Father-Son Fight Club is that we don’t talk about Father-Son Fight Club.

 

Love,

Daddy

 

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To See My Child Brighten Someone’s Day, It Makes Me Proud

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

3 years, 5 months.

Dear Jack,

This morning you were so excited to take your pet dog, Chi-chi, to school. He (or is it she?) has an “on” switch which causes it to walk across the floor and bark/chirp. It’s pretty hilarious.

But since you and your friends are 3 and a half, it’s pretty much as awesome as me finding out yesterday why “A113″ shows up in nearly every Disney/Pixar movie.

You were so eager to show Chi-Chi to your friends, I was actually a bit surprised. I feared that you might freak out as a mob of your classmates would begin going crazy for your toy.

I thought it would bother you. I thought you might quickly get possessive.

That’s not at all what happened. Instead, I saw the look on your face as 7 or 8 of your friends all circled around you in amazement of your toy.

Never was there a sign of concern as Chi-Chi (and ultimately, you) were the hit of the party.

I saw joy in your eyes as you witnessed your friends playing with and passing around the toy you brought to share with them.

You brightened their day. That made you happy.

And it made me happy too.

When we got home, I saw on Facebook that my friend Holly, from college, had messaged me:

Nick, i just had to let you know that of all the compliments I received on my pink hair picture, your son requesting a second viewing makes me feel the coolest. Hope you’re doing well!

A few days ago, Holly had posted this new picture of herself with some temporary pink hair dye. (Being half-Norwegian and half-Swedish, her hair is normally light blonde.)

You caught a glimpse of the picture on my laptop as I was scrolling through Facebook and were pretty fascinated by this seemingly magical girl with the pink hair. I let Holly know that:

“My son Jack likes your hair so much, he just asked to see your picture again!”
Of the 20-something comments and 70-something “likes” she received from that picture, your comment made her feel the coolest. Enough for her to take the time to let me know, several days later.
And if you can believe it, the fact that you made her day by asking to see her picture a 2nd time… well, it made my day.
Twice in the same couple of hours, I saw first-hand how you simply brightened other people’s days.
It makes me so proud that you are such a sweet boy. I don’t think I was that caring and giving when I was your age.
Yeah, you make me proud.
Love,
Daddy

 

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