You have to love the moments that make you think you might just be getting this whole parenting thing right.
Monthly Archives: January 2012
We are big fans of the Dr. Seuss books in our house. We love them not only for the whimsical language and images, but also for the messages that many of them convey through the whimsy.
The Lorax is one of those books. Watching the trailer for the movie and reading the story description on the official movie website, it is disappointing that it seems to completely miss the point. The Lorax is a story about understanding and appreciating the value of our environment and how it is important that we each take it upon ourselves to care because it can make all the difference for the future. The movie website describes the movie as “the journey of a 12-year-old as he searches for the one thing that will enable him to win the affection of the girl of his dreams.” You remember that part of the book, right? They have absolutely missed the point. And watching the trailer gives me no hope that they remained true to the book at all.
I thought they did a wonderful job with the Horton Hears a Who movie. It was beautiful, AND they stayed true to the story. So far, I am not seeing that here at all.
Anyway, I became aware of all of this through the efforts of a 4th grade class in Massachusetts. They were excited about The Lorax movie because they love the book and its message. They were highly disappointed to learn that in the promotion of the movie, there is absolutely no mention of the true message of the book and that the movie producers and promoters were not taking this opportunity to promote the message of the book. They even came up with ideas like handing out seeds to school children to help promote both the movie AND protecting our environment. These are some smart kids. And I imagine their teacher must be pretty special too.
They started a petition on change.org to try to get the movie producers and promoters to stay true to the message of the Dr. Seuss book and encourage environmental awareness and activism, and not just try to make money. Ummm…that is sort of the whole point of the book, after all.
I see the trailer for Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close…the papers floating down from the sky. I stop breathing for a second. That has always been one of my clearest memories from that day…the papers floating down, and then the things that were falling much faster. What were they? The realization. No…who were they? They were people. One of my clearest memories from that day.
I didn’t lose anyone that day. At least not anyone I ever met. But those people have stayed with me. And I wonder who did lose them. I wonder who is out there missing them. I still haven’t been there. I view it from afar, but I haven’t been able to go there. I walk within blocks of it, but I never go there.
I remember shortly after that day, someone I know who was visiting NYC went there and took pictures. They were showing them to a group of us. I was actually angry. I left the room. Didn’t they know what happened there? People died. I saw them. It didn’t seem right. Not so soon.
Why haven’t I been there? Maybe because of that initial reaction to someone going there and gawking, as I saw it. Maybe some of that feeling still lingers. But I think it’s also because I have never felt like I have a place there. I did not suffer a personal loss that day. But it did change me in a way that is different than people who weren’t there and didn’t see the things that I did. So it is more to me than it is to a random tourist, but I also don’t feel I have the right to mourn there like the families who suffered unimaginable losses that day. I have never known exactly where my place is there.
I do carry some ghosts from that day with me, but I don’t know who they are. I see a falling person and I try to imagine who they left that morning. I see a firefighter headed downtown on a truck as I escaped and walked uptown. I wonder if he made it home to his family that day. I didn’t know them and yet they have become a part of my memories. Memories of people I didn’t know. Memories of people who belonged to others and who are missed painfully by others. Memories that have always felt awkward because they are so personal and emotional yet seem insignificant when I think of those who lost so much that day. Even writing about them now, as the image of the floating papers hits me, feels awkward.
Maybe someday I’ll go back there. I guess it has all always seemed both loud enough and close enough from here. But maybe it will help me own my memories. My memories of strangers. Memories of people I never met but I mourn for. Memories that belong to me of people who didn’t.