Bravely Going … Bonkers
Here’s a Hollywood Story – kind of. I’m at the opening for a new Umami Burger (if you don’t know what that is, there is a gaping hole in your culinary existence and I will keep you in my thoughts) with Nick Pitera (if you don’t know who that is, there is emptiness in your awareness of musical miracles), and we’re talking about the new Pixar film “Brave” (you know what that is). Nick, in addition to his vocal talent, is an animator at Pixar. Glamour, glamour all around!
So there we stand, burgers dripping in hand, and I’m echoing to him what many have already said, that I love how the “princess” in this film, Merida, isn’t boy-crazy. She has taken the modern Disney heroine’s independence to new levels, and in fact ends up with no man at all, by choice. Wow. As a mom, I also appreciated the lessons that both my daughter, Nina, and I were learning about mom/daughter relationships: the importance of mutual respect and compromise and the magic one can find in each other. Nick was fascinating as he talked about the story process in the making of that film – that Merida WAS (for a time) going to end up with a guy (I was easily able to guess which, one point for me), but how great of Pixar to let her be herself, until some sequel when she is “ready” and may or may not find someone worthy of her.
I did enjoy the film – took both my girls last Saturday morning. Later that afternoon, we hit a bouncy-house birthday party, and both girls enjoyed being “brave” going down the super-duper big slide. 2.5 year old Isla even fought off tears “bravely” as a boy (who will be a boy) tackled her like a linebacker Ha! Strong young women – that’s what I’m raising (thanks to your help, Pixar)!
Then this morning something happened. We are having tile put down in our dining room and today our amazing artist of a tile installer brought his youngish son, who is “working with dad” to raise funds for fireworks. It was 8am, and Nina, Isla and I were finishing our breakfast, when my “brave” 5.5 year old literally flipped out in goofiness, nerves, blushes, manners, you name it! She was wide-eyed and wondered why we had a BOY (!) in our house. She then finished her breakfast (which I’d been fighting her to consume for 45 minutes) faster than I’d ever seen her eat, demanded I do her hair and find her a dress pronto. Still in my own pajamas I looked at this CHILD and wondered what happened? Ahh!
I humored her and got Nina dressed, then she proceeded to make every mistake in the book: parading herself near the workers, assuming strange mannerisms, bizarrely singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” in their midst. Huh? Where was my warrior Merida? Nowhere! Nina couldn’t even hold it together as well as say, Snow White … or (for heaven’s sake) Charlotte La Bouff in “Princess and the Frog!” This girl was falling over herself to be noticed by a boy who has no interest. Sigh. Been there, done that!
I watched her, both smiling and shaking my head in confusion. If these behaviors are Darwinian on any level, it’s a wonder our species still exists. I knew the madness would come one day to my warrior girl – just wasn’t expecting it so soon. Guess I’ll have to learn to be brave.