Last night, I had the pleasure of attending the MET at the Movies encore of Parsifal, Richard Wagner's final opus: A 5 and a half hour redemption epic with immortal sirens, lakes of blood, and the Holy Grail. You know, just typical opera stuff. Seriously though, it really was a very moving and modern production, and I barely felt the 5 hours. Well, I felt them at the intermissions when our group of 20 whittled to 5 and the man in front of me started swearing. But during? Nothing but magic. To be honest, the fact that Jonas Kaufmann was shirtless for most of Act III might have tipped the scales of transcendence for me, but whatever the reason: pure magic. Now, I was flying solo for this outing. While I can take or leave Wagner and it really depends on the production, Awkward Dad would prefer to leave him, someone on a deserted beach, I think. His first words to me when I got back were, "And how were the Nazis this evening?" That I was prepared for. His second words? Not so much. Those were: "Oh, by the way, I showed the kids Return of the Jedi. Hope you don't mind."
I just stared at him. He did what? That is like throwing Super Preschooler's birthday party without me. Not taking any pictures of Super Toddler's first bike ride. Interviewing Super Baby's first date solo. We have been watching Star Wars as a family over the past couple months. Many long-term readers will remember my trilogy post about watching A New Hope. (If you want to relive it; here, here, and here.) About a month ago there was an Empire Strikes Back movie night that ended rather badly. Super Preschooler was not properly primed for limb-severing and he freaked out. The fact that his brother promptly wanted to act it out probably didn't help matters. I was so ready for Return of the Jedi. I was so sure that the final act of Lucas' magnificent space opera would heal Super Preschooler's wounds with a balm of Ewoks, Yoda ghosts, and Hutt antics. Awkward Dad seemed to think that all it would take to get Super Preschooler back in the fold was one look at Leia's slave girl outfit. I think he might have been talking about himself, but whatever. It was going to be the conclusion to our nerd indoctrination of the children. (They can discover the prequels in their own time) This was to be family bonding of epic proportions; the cherry on their awkward eduction. The thrilling third act, with all its satisfying sense of completion. And he showed it to them on a Wednesday while I was out. He did what?!?!?!
Oh well. I am not H.G. Wells and I can't time travel. (Oh come on, H.G. Wells can totally time travel; you think he made all that up? No one is that good a writer....) What's done is done and I am trying not to resent Awkward Dad too much. After all, he did let me go out for about 6 hours last night and handled bedtime on his own. Plus, he vacuumed up the popcorn that Super Baby got on every square inch of the living room. Oh wait, he didn't do that at all. I did. This morning, half-awake, in a panic, because I don't want the babysitter to think we are disgusting enough to leave popcorn all over the place overnight. OK, free license to resent Awkward Dad is back on the table.
What softened the blow slightly was how I woke up this morning:
Super Preschooler: Mom! Mom! We saw more Star Wars last night!
Super Toddler: Leia had a gun!
Super Preschooler: Did you know about Ewoks? Ewoks are the cutest thing ever! And there was a baby one. A baby one! It was so adorable. Can I have a baby Ewok?
Super Toddler: Yeah, yeah. Mommy, Jaba the Hutt is so gross!
Super Baby: Jaba. Jaba. Jaba.
Super Preschooler: And the walkers! The Ewoks got rid of them, but they were really scary. And Chewbacca was driving and it was so funny.
Super Toddler: This one is the funny Star Wars. The most funny one!
Super Preschooler: And Darth Vader isn't really bad. He is kinda good. But bad. And ugly. But good and bad, and I don't know about that.
Super Toddler: But Emperor is bad. So bad. I emperor! (He makes pretend lightening come out of his hands, complete with sound effects.)
Super Baby: Jaba. Jaba. Jaba. Jaba.
Super Preschooler: And Leia was almost naked, Mom!
Super Toddler: Naked!
Super Preschooler: Her hair was pretty though. I liked it better when she was riding on that flying thingie with the helmet.
Super Toddler: And gun! Gun!
Super Preschooler: Oh my gosh, Mom, and then they had this party at the end! It was crazy!
Super Toddler: With ghosts!
Super Preschooler: Right, ghosts and they were playing drums with the bad guys heads.
Me: Pretty sure those where just helmets, Super P.
Super Toddler: No. They were heads.
Super Baby: Heads!
Me: Sigh, well, OK. I am glad you liked it.
Super Preschooler: Yes, it was great! But it will be better when we watch it with you.
Super Toddler: Mommy, can I have gun like Leia's? Daddy said I had to ask you.
Me: I bet he did. We'll talk about it later. Now get up, I have about 20 tons of popcorn to clean up.
No, I don't resent Awkward Dad. It sounds like it was magical. Not 5-hour-shirtless-tenors magic, but a much better kind and I don't want to begrudge him that. I have so many moments with the children that he doesn't get to share. First steps, first days of school, first words. Random afternoon snuggle fests because it's raining. Kitchen dance parties. The days we all wear pajamas and watch the garbage trucks rumble up and down the street all morning. Lawn picnics. Couch forts. The million triumphs and tragedies that fill up the days of toddlers that he misses because he is out making money so that they can have all those triumphs and tragedies. No, I don't resent him stealing a moment with them while they are still little and want to be with us. I don't resent him grabbing them to him any chance he gets. I don't resent him being the cool parent who let them stay up until 10pm watching a woman in a bikini strangle a huge slug while a hooded wizard electrocutes her brother. I don't resent him not wanting his fatherhood to turn into 70s folk song. I don't resent him swooping in to save the Star Wars day with some Ewoks and popcorn. I don't resent him, I really don't. But if he thinks that I am waiting for him to show them Indiana Jones, he has another thing coming.
Awkward Dad calls the Darth on the right Wagner-Darth
because he looks like he is giving the Nazi salute.
(Much love to Excellent Mom and Dad who passed these,
and numerous other 80s treasures, our way recently.
The Supers are in Star Wars heaven; thank you!)