When you think of the movie Finding Nemo, you are probably like me in that you remember that it's about a few fish, namely Dorie and Nemo, and a big ocean. Not much more about the story comes to my mind until I watched it again tonight with John and the twins. After our trip to the grocery and after the twins were fed we sat them down for a minute in the family room to watch Finding Nemo, that we had DVRed, while we waited for our dinner to finish baking and then eat.
I had completely forgotten that this sweet loving father in the movie loses his wife and all of his kids before the movie even really makes it out of the opening credits. Immediately this movie found a new place in my heart. Tears were rolling down my face as I ate a piece of my asparagus. I know how that sweet, loving dad feels. That empty, scared, sad feeling when you feel like you can't go on. And then there is this tiny speck of hope, in his son, like I found in my husband and my kids. This hope that makes you press on and gives you a reason to get up in the morning. Then to make matters worse in his family friendly Disney movie, the poor dad loses his only son, Nemo, and spends his life searching for him. I can't imagine.
So, I know right now I am going to a new place and comparing my life to a Disney movie but just hang with me. At the end of the movie, after we had cleaned up dinner and we sat down together to see the end, we watched this dad that had just been reunited with his son after tirelessly searching for him let him go again. He didn't want to, but he knew he had to. He let Nemo go so that he could live with purpose (and again I know it's a Disney movie...) but he saved Dorie. He convinced the fish that were trapped in a net with their friend Dorie to all work together to swim down and escape from the prison the fisherman had trapped them in.
I am constantly reminded that I cannot let what happened to us keep me from allowing my kids to live their life to the fullest. I cannot be afraid to let them do things or become their own people. I cannot pretend they are a crab and keep them trapped in a bucket of water or for that matter become a "helicopter fish" like I watched in Finding Nemo. They won't make it. I have to let them go. I have to give them some freedom to learn from their own mistakes and experiences.
Big Mama, one of my favorite writers, wrote a book called, "Sparkly Green Earrings" that reminds me of this truth as well. If you haven't read it I have a copy you can borrow. My favorite part in her book is when she described a time in her life when she witnessed her daughter do just like what I described with a crab. It hit her kind of like this movie did me tonight, that we cannot keep our kids sheltered and protected forever because in the long run we are doing them more harm than good. Even as little as my two kids are right now I know that there is truth in this. I cannot protect them from the world. I cannot protect them from even the scariest thing in my mind; genetic disorders and pain. I have to trust that they will learn from imperfect moments in their lives and hopefully with John and I's unconditional love and support, become strong and courageous people that can stand on their own two feet.
So yes, I am thankful for the movie Finding Nemo tonight and for the lesson I can learn from fish, namely Nemo's dad, in this Disney movie. Who would have thought?