Monday, August 20, 2012

Awkward Mom vs. Star Wars - A New Hope

A long time ago (or maybe last Thursday) in a galaxy far, far away (somewhere awkward and actually just in Ann Arbor)....

When your supers are little, you dream about their futures. You hope that they inherit your stunning sense of humor and someone else's nose. You dream about all those seminal moments in their lives. Those huge milestones that you will get to share with them. First steps. First teeth. First days of school. Taking them to college. Walking them down the aisle at their weddings. And if you are awkward, more important than all the rest, the first time they watch Star Wars.

I am not even going to explain why Awkward Dad and I love Star Wars. It should be clear to anyone who has read even one entry of this blog. But really, the main reason is that Star Wars is awesome. If you don't believe this, don't tell me. I just don't want to believe that people in the world could be immune to the glorious pageantry, the ancient wisdom, or Han's grin. Just go watch it, preferably with someone under the age of 10. I believe you will be taken in before you know it. Soon, you too will be humming Darth Vader's theme and plastering your bedroom walls with Harrison Ford posters. OK...that might just be me. 13 year old me, to be exact.

Awkward Dad and I have been waiting for this day the second we found out we were having children. I am serious. The birth and all that might have been a distant second or it might have been even further back, behind the first time they saw the Muppets. It is all a blur now. We were so looking forward to this day, that we tried to rush it. Never a good plan when pushing your passions onto your children.

When Super Preschooler was about 3, Awkward Dad got a little ahead of himself. You see, Super P. had been playing with Awkward Dad's old Star Wars toys. Little Jawas and Yodas had made their way into his toy castle. Luke Skywalker was pinch-hitting for the prince, and the Star Wars story had worked its way into the bedtime story catalog, with coloring books and comics serving as visual aids. Light sabers had even appeared for Super P.'s birthday, but the only one interested in those was a 1 year old Super Toddler. Emboldened by Super Preschooler's interest and his recent trauma-free viewing of The Wizard of Oz, we all settled onto the couch and settled in for some magic.

He was fine with spaceships. He wanted the word crawl read to him. He laughed at R2-D2 and C-3PO. He gasped with delight at the brief glimpse of Leia, and then it all fell apart. Darth Vader came sashaying through that door, flanked by an army of stormtroopers, with an undercurrent of danger thundering from his menacing music and the harsh hissing of his helmet, and Super Preschooler lost his mind. And I don't mean the full glorious absorption into our childhood wonder that we were desiring. No, he actually fled the room. Awkward Dad and I didn't notice at first because we were watching Super Toddler, who was laughing and waving at Darth like they were college frat brothers.

I found Super Preschooler hiding in the hallway. He refused to go back into the living room. Awkward Dad begged him. He pleaded with him. He promised him candy and toys and basically violated every parenting rule under the sun. He promised him more Leia. He promised to let him watch Return of the Jedi and see Leia in her slave girl outfit, which really did nothing for Super Preschooler and I think was pretty self-serving. He refocused and promised Super Preschooler jawas, hutts, wookies, and ewoks. Super P. was not having it. He looked right at Awkward Dad and told him that Star Wars was too scary and that he would be ready to watch it when he was 10 years old. I am pretty sure all of Ann Arbor heard Awkward Dad's heart break.

The next year and a half passed in anguished slowness for Awkward Dad. (I had a few other things to keep me busy. You know, just little things, like a new baby.) Super Preschooler continued his Star Wars interest with unflagging enthusiasm, but when asked to watch the movie he would relentlessly announce that he was too young. I could see Awkward Dad going gray before us, it was heartbreaking.

Light saber fights would erupt in the living room. Are you ready to watch the movie, Super P.? Nope.

They would pretend to fly the Millennium Falcon (a diaper box with a toy cat in it) through the kitchen. Are you ready to watch the movie, Super P.? Nope.

Jawas would be found in the fridge. Not ready.

Yoda would take a bath with them. Not ready.

Coloring book pages of Hoth would be ripped out and hung on the wall. Not ready.

They would parade through the house and announce that Awkward Dad was the Death Star and Super Cat was Darth Vader, while dressed like Thor and a ballerina. (I don't pretend to understand toddler logic, I am just the reporter.) Not ready.

Sometimes, Super P. would act out parts of the movie that he hadn't seen yet but had witnessed in his comics. It was like he was messing with Awkward Dad. But, he was heartless, not ready. Not old enough. Too scary. No. No. No.

And then, a new hope. (wink, wink, nudge, nudge.)

In our effort to promote family cohesiveness and bounding, while being cheap and laying around on the couch, we have started family movie night. We were debating which movie to watch last Thursday when I, jokingly, suggested Star Wars. (Sometimes, I can be as mean as Super Preschooler.) Poor Awkward Dad. He didn't even try to look excited or hopefully as he popped the popcorn. I was digging through the DVDs, looking for Toy Story or Night at the Museum, when Super P. shrugged a shrug that looked about 17 years old, and said, "OK."

Time stood still, as we all turned to watch Awkward Dad straighted up and take the popcorn out of the microwave. Ball was in his court; how was he gonna play it? He slowly turned around, popped some popcorn in his mouth, and shrugged exactly the same way. "I guess that would be fine." Oozing nonchalance, he sauntered to the couch, looking like this was a normal Thursday. But I have been married to the man for nearly 10 years, and I could see that the light in his eyes was brighter than an exploding Alderaan. This was no normal Thursday movie night.

Oh, is she really gonna leave us hanging like that? What is her problem? She is acting almost like this is going to be a trilogy post or something.....

I want to rename our stroller the Millennium Falcon, but I am afraid that the Death Star is more appropriate.


  1. Nah, I think it looks more like Luke's T-16. You could totally bulls-eye womp rats in that thing. ;)

    I saw Star Wars when I was 7 (on Betamax) and I totally freaked out over the trash compactor scene. It was years and years before I watched it again. So don't worry, Awkward Mom & Dad, initial freak-out doesn't mean Super P. has missed his chance be a huge Star Wars fan. :)

    Also: major props to the two of you for showing the films in the "correct" order (4-5-6.) I'm debating whether to show our future family 1, 2 and 3, or just pretend they don't exist.

  2. It does kinda look like Luke's T-16! :)

    That trash compactor scene is no joke, I don't blame you one bit. And yes, we will be using the correct order. I totally overexplain why in my next post!