I have a penchant for kids films that the husband has lovingly abided since we’ve been together- long before talk of children of our own peppered our horizon. I can’t just wait for them to come out on video and watch it at home- you miss the entire experience. Theaters full of kids are the most chaotic, most excitable, most wonderful ways to spend a Friday night. The catch of breath, the wail of a little one who’s had too much popcorn (or who wants the theater popcorn and not the kind Mom brought from home in a baggie), the soft glow on rapt faces. It’s pretty magical. Rich has long given up on taking me to see the latest psychological thriller and has resigned himself to the fact that his wife loves Disney. And Pixar. And will have repeated nightmares and keep him up all hours of the night if he takes her to see anything else. Thus, we went to see UP when it came out.
The opening montage is about a little boy and a little girl who formulate an adorable friendship based on their love to explore. Awh, we whispered- kinda like us. As they grew older, they became even better friends, told each other everything and encouraged each other in their endeavors- still like us, we thought. As they grew older still, their friendship grew into love and they married, fully expecting their adventurous lives to continue in exotic places, doing crazy things. We looked at each other- Pixar owes us a copyright. As the film progresses, the audience watches as they deal with what life throws their way- an inability to conceive a child, a broken arm, a broken furnace- all with grace and laughter, and resorting to using the money that would have been spent on their exotic adventure. Doesn’t that sound familiar. When they grow old and she is the first one to pass on, we learn that she viewed their whole life together as the best adventure she had ever had- better than anything they could have planned themselves. And, we lost it. And cried. Both of us. At a Pixar film, in a theater full of snot-nosed kids.
The character’s name was Ellie, and no, our daughter’s not named after her, but the sentiment lingers about the kind of person we want our Ellie to be. Adventurous, out-going, courageous, loving and humbly, even excitedly accepting of the things she will encounter along the way. Because it’s all just one, big adventure.