Recently, our daughter, our toddler granddaughter, and our newborn grandson stayed with us for two weeks. Pure fun. Also, pure energy. Breaks were essential and that meant walks, parks, drawing, reading, singing, also an inflatable kiddie pool, plus TV and movies.
With my daughter's approval, I introduced my two-year-old granddaughter to Pixar's 'Up.' Although I hadn't watched it for a decade, I remembered Carl and Russell, the "little mailman" sidekick, Dug the talking-dog, and that indelible image of hundreds of balloons tied to Carl's precarious house floating us all away into adventure—a perfect representation of childhood imagination, and also a poignant metaphor for time and how we can't hold on(to) forever.
I was rapt. With new eyes, I realized that this film introduced the "Squirrel!" distraction meme, still common in our language mores. I (re)recognized the pain of discovering your childhood heroes were not so heroic. I remembered Carl's transformation: growing stronger (less grief-stricken and, dare I say, younger) with each conflict—he tossed his walker and eventually spit out his dentures! Rewatching 'Up,' I also realized I'm now 65% Carl, ha!
And my granddaughter? Likewise rapt. She (and her pillow) crawled in so close to me; she barely said a word except in one dramatic part where she turned to me with alarm in her eyes and yelled something like "go bird go!" But I didn't remember, nor was I prepared to relive Russell telling Carl about his broken family and a favourite memory of sitting along the street eating ice-cream with his Dad. Homesick for the past, he notes others might find his memory boring, yet Russell longs for those simple, shared moments with his Dad, "I like that curb."
Indeed, Russell. I miss some curbs too. Don't we all? Some I'll never forget. But friends, we can like new curbs too. Maybe 'Up' will be one of those curbs for my granddaughter and her Pops—the story of an old guy and a kid and what they can learn from each other if, together, they are willing to keep looking up and seeking new adventures.