Have you seen the latest Pixar film Inside Out?
I love how recent animated movies are shifting away from the typical “damsel in distress” or “good vs. bad guy” themes and moving more into deeper territory. Inside Out depicts the inner monologues of a young girl and her family, and how so often the voices in our heads can steer us into the right or the wrong direction. It also beautifully illustrates that we need joy and sadness, for without one, there isn’t the other. Like so many children’s films, there’s plenty of humor for the entire audience, but there are some wonderful, more substantial themes.
We viewed this film while on our mini vacation to visit friends. Along the way we went to a waterslide park which was fun, and sparked the memories of waterslides I went to as a kid. I LOVE the water and always have. Any vacation was met with the question, “Does the hotel have a pool?!!” because to kids, the pool IS the vacation. I did not have a fear of heights that I remember growing up. For whatever reason, that has changed. My stomach does flip flops, I get panicky. It’s not pleasant. I have to concentrate and focus to push through it. The voices in my head were raging as I gulped down some terror approaching the stairs. “Do not look up,” I told myself. “And when you get up there, don’t look down.”
Hannah was screaming, “BEST DAY EVER!” racing up the slippery steps and Jacob was taking two stairs at a time trying to beat Eric to the top, wind blowing his inner tube around crazily. Death grip on the railing, my knuckles clenched white, Eric asks, “How are you doing?”
“Fine,” I mutter, just trying to breathe. Trying not to envision the minions plummeting down to their deaths. Hoping I wouldn’t biff myself too badly on the slide, I kept telling myself that it would be worth it. “One step at a time. Look only at your feet. Just get to the top, the ride down will be worth it.”
And you know what? It was.
I kept climbing up every time the kids shouted, “Let’s do it again!!” Each time I swallowed hard, focused and just did it. It was a blast. I’m never going to be that cool mom that sun bathes on the lounger. That’s fine, but it’s just not me. I want to get in there with them and play, even if the voice of fear in my head is screaming, “NO! You’re going to DIE!”
I want my kids to remember me in the moment, not always taking a picture of the moment. I want them to be having fun with me, not around me. I want them to see me get my hair wet and crazy, but with smiles on our faces. If I want them to know how to breathe in a moment and revel in their own joy, I have to lead by example.
No matter what the pesky voices in our heads say!