Today marked the second time this summer I've practically burst into tears at a kid's movie.
Toy Story 3? The little montage that shows Andy growing up dragging his beloved Cowboy Woody everywhere through the years? Couldn't handle it. I sobbed so loudly at one point that when the kids looked at me I tried to act like a piece of popcorn went the wrong way and started coughing and sputtering.
It didn't end there, folks. Today I took Olivia and her friend Elizabeth to see Beezus and Ramona.
A little background: Like most kids of the '70's and '80's, I grew up with Beverly Clearly (and also a little Judy Blume, but THOSE were hidden under the bed).
The Ramona series was laugh-at-loud funny but also interwoven with some hard life lessons that were written earnestly but magically just short of totally bumming out the kid reader.
One of my favorites was "Ramona and Her Father" in which Ramona's dad is forced to spend more time at home after losing his job. Ramona and her sister Beezus forge a deeper bond with their dad, but they're also keenly aware that he'd rather be working. They also try to get him to stop smoking by hanging "No Smoking" signs all over the house, which is something I tried with my own dad. It worked in the book. At my house, not so much.
The movie threw in a few scenes from nearly all the books, and I absolutely adored it. The film opened with showing the school bus letting off Ramona and Howie, at their stop on Klickitat Street, and I nearly lost it. I couldn't help welling up. For me, Ramona came at a time when I was coming into my own as a reader, finding a character I could identify with, laugh at and love. It was also a time when my mother's arms were tanned, smooth and capable, my dad was the strongest guy in the world and nothing could ever, ever happen to them.
This time when I choked out a little sob, I heard this very subtle, "Mom" emitting from my daughter. I looked over and her eyes were wide with horror. "Sorry, Honey," I muttered, and sucked it up. Because, experiencing Beverly Cleary's written words as a kid and then getting to watch it unfold in film with your OWN little girl- --well, that's a very, very good thing indeed.