The first few days the kids were in school, I just kind of luxuriated in it. It was quiet. I didn’t have to pester anyone to do housework. I didn’t have to mediate any fights. It was just me and the cat. There may have been naps. Because of my partner’s work schedule, he had a couple of days off, and we spent time together, actually together. Just the two of us. And then he went back to work, and I thought, “Okay, what movies am I going to watch that I can’t around the kids?”
My children, as long-time readers will know, are six and ten. Sandy’s in first grade and Zane’s in fifth. (Pause while really long-time readers remember my maternity leave!) Now, Zane is developing maturity such that I will now let him read whatever he wants, not least because, as established, I was reading V.C. Andrews at his age. But viewing is slightly different, and anyway he doesn’t read what’s beyond him intellectually and emotionally, and they’ll both sit and watch things just because I’m watching them. And that means that a routine answer to, “Have you seen [thing]?” is, “Is it appropriate to watch around my kids?”
Oh, I’m not a horror movie person particularly, so we’re not looking at buckets of gore. And I’m certainly not watching, say, Quentin Tarantino movies. But it was nice to watch Bullet Train without wondering if maybe things were getting a little graphic for them. I caught up all the way on Letterkenny without worrying if I was going to have to explain what the deal is with the McMurrays. Heck, I could even just dive into my music camp memories while watching Theater Camp without having to open peanut butter jars and answer questions.
I love my kids. I even love watching things with my kids; I’m going to watch some PhilosophyTube with Zane to help him figure out dealing with humans. And my kids have interesting insights into what they watch, trained I suppose by their mom. They each have their own Letterboxd account, which I hope to expand with them soon. But there’s something to be said still for just watching what I want to watch without considering them, even if it’s “I’m sure they’ll just be bored by my Joan Blondell pre-Codes.” The joy of picking something off my shelf without worrying about its rating cannot be understated.
They’ll get older, and I’m assured I will miss the days when we just snuggle and watch Kiki’s Delivery Service or something. Though I like to hope I’m raising people who will never feel they’re too old for Kiki’s Delivery Service. And maybe that’s true. But it genuinely can be too things—I can enjoy watching things with them and still feel a sense of relief at finally being able to watch things by myself. Or at the very least for myself.