On our way to meet friends to see Frozen this weekend, my daughters and I ran into traffic and arrived at the theatre a few minutes late.
"I’m sorry, the 2:40 showing is sold out. The next one is at 7:50," said the man at the ticket window. Our friends were already seated inside. I didn’t want to disappoint the girls after promising them a fun movie afternoon, and I certainly wasn’t considering waiting around for five hours to make it happen, so I asked what else was showing in the next few minutes that was kid-friendly.
“The Lego Movie is in previews now, so you’d be right on time for that one.”
"Sold. Three tickets please," I responded, already chalking up the next hour and a half of my life to an animated feature that would inevitably suck but hopefully entertain two toddlers.
"It’s 3-D, is that okay?" he asked.
I laughed, looking down at the girls and imagining the fiasco that accessories tend to create for our crew, and said, “Well, it’s gonna have to be,” and took the glasses and our tickets from him and headed inside.
There’s a lesson here. A few actually. (I’m sure you’re shocked.)
1. The most obvious: buy your tickets in advance. Rookie mistake. Won’t happen again.
2. Just because a movie is about a toy that your brother played with growing up (while you organized your rock collection for the 867th time) doesn’t mean it’s going to suck. (i.e. Don’t judge a movie by its title.)
3. When you hear Will Ferrell’s voice, you know it’s going to be good. I’d marry that guy tomorrow if he asked, purely based on his performance in Elf alone. (I die over this scene. Every time.) But add some Ricky Bobby, Spartans, cow bell, and a Step Brother, and he has essentially solidified his status as dreamboat in my world. (Humor makes all the difference.)
4. Everything is more fun with glasses. My little ladies giggled as I helped each of them put on their sweet shades, and they could not stop checking one another out—fascinated by both the novelty and sophistication of it all. (Always accessorize.)
5. Always have snacks in your purse. Or candy. Or, ideally, both. I realize I was in direct violation of cinema code when I smuggled the leftover Valentine’s candy into the theatre, but there is no way I was spending $8 for a handful of Sour Patch Kids when I have an entire shoebox of conversation hearts, Starbursts, chocolate kisses, Twizzlers, and pop rocks at my disposal for free. And after three days of begging for that ring pop, my older daughter’s dreams finally came true. Priceless. (Sweets save the day.)
6. Do your own thing. I looked over at my younger daughter about halfway through the movie and realized she was no longer wearing her glasses. Concerned she was missing out, I tried to put them back on for her and she shook her head, saying, “I like it without.” Sure, it’s odd (and not to mention really blurry) to watch a 3D movie without 3D glasses, but that girl has always done her own thing and been totally fine with it. She does not care one bit what anyone else thinks/does/says, and she follows her own path without hesitation, fully and completely embodying the “marches to her own beat” philosophy while having a hell of a good time in the process. I have to say I love her attitude and would be thrilled to think she got it from her mother. (But if you’ve read this blog with any regularity, you know the likelihood of that is, well, slim at best.) I’m just now getting the hang of this at 35, and at 3, she’s solid. Better late than never, though, right?
7. Be flexible. Be open. Be along for the ride. I’ll admit when I heard the words, “Sold out” at the ticket window, there was a moment (albeit a brief one) of panic when I realized my plan was not falling into place. Once I took a step back and rolled with the punches, it worked out perhaps even better than I expected. Not only did we have the opportunity to laugh and live it up with sweet snacks together on a cold and gray winter day, but it occurred to me about five minutes in to the feature that it was our first-ever 3D movie—not just together, but for each of us. So, there we were, on a random Saturday afternoon, putting another fun “first” into the books without even planning on it.
I realize I am finding lessons in everything lately, and while this is incredibly fulfilling and interesting for me, I wonder if it is entirely annoying for everyone else. Do my friends and family think, “Bless her heart. Will she ever just go to the movies, enjoy the film, and leave it at that?” I get it—part of me would love to live a life a little less examined (despite what they say about an unexamined life) and leave this analyzing and insight aside once in a while. But most of me hopes I never stop learning. For me, the lessons allow life to be lived to its fullest—in its greatest dimension, since we’re on the topic—and in wonder at what it endlessly has to offer us at every turn—even (and often) when we least expect it.