Wednesday, February 22, 2012

See/Skip/Savor: My Neighbor Totoro

I'll spare the categories and just cut to the chase: see My Neighbor Totoro and savor it. I was afraid it would scare me. I was afraid I wouldn't like it. I was afraid I would miss something by not watching it with subtitles. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to get it back to the library. I was afraid I'd never get it to play on a computer past the first five minutes.

I am obviously afraid of many things. I watched it in spite of those. It's a children's movie after all, right? Yes. And no. It's a movie for everyone. For me though, it was a movie for the mom I am not yet: both literally and spiritually.

I'm afraid of more things than just not liking movies. Unlike Satsuki and Mei, I'm afraid of the dark. I'm afraid of things hiding in corners. I'm afraid of monsters. I'm afraid of ghosts. These are things we normally stop fearing once we're no longer little kids. I think Satsuki and Mei have beaten me to overcoming these though. They step into the darkness with a loud growl and a laugh to scare away anything scary. This is a lovely method, but can a grown woman scream every time the sun goes down?

I'm afraid of my own children some day coming to me with fears that I also have: things under the bed, making new friends, and dark spaces. I need to respond with comfort, proper assurance, and real answers—things I need to give myself now.

I'm afraid of worse things: like losing children. I recognize that I'll become an over-bearing mother who can't let her kids out of her sight. Though I recognize that, I'm determined not to become that. As Satsuki and Mei ran around free in their world, I was nervous. I wanted them to be safe. I wanted someone to know where they were at all times. But as the movie went forward, my worries left. The example of trusting, loving, and hopeful parents stood in place of what I feared. Their children were taken up by a cat bus, for crying out loud, and I was totally okay with that. It's a safe world. My children won't have a Totoro exactly, but are we not constantly encircled in the care of angels? I believe that. I can trust that. I can let my children run. I can escape my own fears.         

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