Today I watched Finding Nemo with my 5 year old son. Well, to be more accurate, I was trying to get some “stuff” done and the movie was a vain attempt to keep him occupied! As the movie played along, I found myself getting drawn in to the little fish story once again, only this time I couldn’t help but think about how we are in the last of my little boy’s preschool years. I know… how sentimental of me! I can’t even say that ordinarily I wouldn’t be that way, but truth be told I am! But I have to say, for excuses sake ;), that I find myself surrounded by lots of other friend mommies who are sending their babes off into the big, big world for the first time, and I find myself holding on to him just a little more closely.
It’s funny this time around with my son. Our oldest daughter is now 14, our second oldest daughter is 12 and both are completely submerged in the world of teenagers. Make-up, Cell Phone, Sports, Recreational Shopping, Dances (and the other dreaded ‘D’ word isn’t too far off)…. With the girls we are there. Sending them to Kindergarten seems like forever ago and sending them to College still seems very far off. (Surely I can live in denial for a couple more years right?) When I sent my oldest to Kindergarten I was a mess and when her sister went a year later, I was pathetic! At the time that my second daughter boarded her first big yellow school bus I was pretty certain that my “baby days” were over. My little boy has been my bonus, the child I desperately wanted but believed I would never have, and the notion that he has been something of a second chance is not lost on me.
So today, as I joined him on the couch to enjoy the way that his little body fits just right next to mine, I swallowed hard at the lump in my throat as I listened to the little fish story. There were 2 parts of the story that really resonated with me today. The first was when Crush (the turtle) and Marlin (Nemo’s dad) are swimming the EAC (East Australian Current) and the dialogue goes like this…
Crush: Curl away, my son. Awe, it’s awesome, Jellyman.
The little dudes are just eggs. We leave ‘em on a beach
to hatch… and then coo-coo-cachoo… they find their way
back to the big ol’ blue!
Marlin: All by themselves?
Marlin: Bbbbbutbutbut, dude, how do you know when they’re ready?
Crush: Well, you never really know. But when they know, you’ll know, you know?
The second part takes place at the end of the movie when Mr. Ray (the Stingray) comes to pick Nemo up for the first day of school…
Mr. Ray: Hold on! Here we go! Next stop—Knowledge!
Marlin: Bye, Son! Have fun!
Nemo: Bye, Dad!
Mr. Ray swims away with Nemo on board.
Nemo: Oh! Mr. Ray, wait! I forgot something.
Nemo swims back to his Dad, panting, and quickly snuggles hard into his side for a hug.
Nemo: Love you, Dad.
Marlin: I love you, too, Son.
Marlin hugs Nemo even closer.
Nemo: Dad? You can let go now.
Marlin: (letting go quickly) Sorry…
Marlin: Now, go have an adventure!
I know my time is coming. I know soon enough we won’t be spending our days together watching movies in the afternoon, or playing on the swing set, or pretending to be spies. I will walk him to his classroom as he excitedly runs ahead of me toward his grown up little self. And when we get there I hope I can be like Marlin and with love and confidence say, “Now, go have an adventure!”