I think childhood, to the child anyway, is all about the memories that you will take with you into adulthood, and the memories that you will use to establish your own family dynamics and traditions once you become the parent. I know many of the things that I do with my kids, are because my parents did them with me.
Every year I take my children to the Long Island Game Farm, and The Vanderbilt Planetarium, because my parents took me there every year, and I have many great memories of being there. I decorate my Christmas tree the weekend after Thanksgiving with my children, while listening to the Muppets Christmas CD, just like my parents did with me and my sister (although, I believe it was the Muppets Christmas Vinyl 38 that was played in the background, not a CD).
(A side note: Now, for those of you scratching your heads wondering what a 38 is, you need to stop reading this now, and go smack yourself in the face a few times for me, because I am not THAT OLD!!)
Anyway, back to my story, childhood is all about the memories, and the summertime is usually the time to make those memories...at the movies. A lot of the summer memories that I hold dear and now try to have with my children are about the movies.
I can still remember seeing Star Wars for the first time with my family, how my parents used every extra dollar they had to take us to see what they and everyone else knew at the time, was a movie experience that we would never forget and a movie we had never seen the likes of before.
They were right of course! I remember what theatre we saw it in, and how excited we were when those first ships,the Tantive IV and the Executor, (sorry I`m a Star Wars geek after all, there was no way I couldnt add those little trivia bits in for you) came on to the screen blasting colorful lasers at one another, it was an experience I will never forget.
I remember going to see Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T. and Ghostbusters. I don't think I'll ever forget how hard we laughed when the Stay Puft Marshmallow came on to the screen, or how hard my mother and sister cried when they thought E.T. had died.
This summer I have taken my kids to see a few movies already, and memories have not only been made for them, but for me as well. First, Superman Returns arrived. My son and I are big fans of the first two movies from 1978 with Christopher Reeve and Gene Hackman. So although we were scared we wouldn't like them, we went to see it opening weekend.
During the movie, there were many references to the original, some only a real fan would notice that Luke would elbow me in the ribs and point out and smile. Then near the end, we both waited to see if this new Superman would smile at the camera as he flew past the earth, just as Christopher Reeve had always done. Once he did, Luke again, smiled and elbowed me and said, "Someday, when I watch this with my kids, I will have to point out the smile." Right then I knew he already had summer movie memories that he will look back on one day fondly, and pass on to his kids, as my parents did with me.
Two weeks later, Luke and I went to see "Pirates of the Caribbean 2"; my daughter isn't a fan of the movie so we went alone. Not only did we love the movie, but we had a great time together. Since we were alone, I told Luke he was my date, so he held the popcorn for us and found our seats. During the movie, we laughed together and Luke leaned in several times to proudly tell me about scenes he had read about in his magazines before the movie was released. Overall, we left the theatre smiling, talking about the film, and all the while building a memory I know he will always remember, as will I.
Nowadays, people seem to think you can't have fun or build memories without spending a lot of money and traveling far away from home. It is sad that so many people don't realize that a $4.00 matinee movie, shared popcorn, water and a box of junior mints is all you need to build the perfect memory with your child that you will both remember. You don't need to take your kids to Vegas (what is a little kid going to do in Vegas may I ask?), to build memories that will last a lifetime. All you need is time, you and them and your local movie house and you're already on your way to a lifetime of summer movie memories.
Now check out your local listings, pick a movie and go make a memory. Any money you save you can send to me care of...... sorry just kidding.