It was the only thing I wanted for Mother's Day, and I gave them plenty of notice: I wanted the whole family to watch The Sound of Music together.
And I mean the real one, not the shortened-for-television version, in which they atrociously chop up my favorite scene: Maria singing "I Have Confidence" from the abbey to the VonTrapp mansion, stopping fearfully at the gates, summoning her courage with a deep breath, then belting out the last "me-e-e-e-e-e-e" while she sprints to the front door.
But I digress.
My sons had never seen the entire movie, a fact that makes me hang my head in shame. But Sunday we would remedy that. I just knew we would sit quietly on the couch, their freshly-washed heads on my shoulder. I would bask in their gentle affection for me, while they would smile serenely at the greatest cinematic musical of all time. Perhaps we might all yodel along together in perfect, four-part harmony.
It's all about keeping the expectations realistic.
The reality, of course, was that when I informed them of our movie-watching plans, there was wailing and gnashing of teeth. "A musical?" they groaned. "Where there's...[insert disgusted pause]...kissing and singing?"
Oh yes, my children. Kissing and singing. At the SAME TIME, if you'll remember the "Something Good" scene in the gazebo. And thou shalt sit through the whole three hours with me, because it's Mother's Day, and I gave birth to you and cleaned up your barf, and anyway, you LOVE ME.
I attempted to silence the groans with a pep talk about how much they'd love the movie. "There are kids who put frogs in pockets," I offered. "And puppets! There are puppets!"
They still looked skeptical, so I played my ace card: "AND there are angry German soldiers with guns." A brief wave of hope flickered across their faces.
So Sunday evening, we turned off the lights and loaded up the DVD player, but not before I presented the children a brief tutorial on Catholicism, nunhood, and the German occupation of Europe in the late 1930's. I am so much fun on a date.
To their great surprise (and my own, too, I'll confess), the kids loved it. Their attention never faltered for a second, proving that the magic of this great movie runs deep. Oh, they offered plenty of their own cheeky commentary, of course. During Maria's wedding scene, the 11 year old wanted to know who the "dude in the funny hat" was. Hubs explained it was probably a bishop. "Oh," Adam said. "Can he only move around diagonally?" Cheeky.
I thought we might have lost the ten year old during the "Something Good" gazebo scene: "When are the angry Germans going to show up?" he asked, hopefully. Thankfully, he settled back in quickly, after I may or may not have bribed him with a pop tart (very un-Maria-ish, I know).
I love that movie. I love it. I have seen it, quite easily, over 100 times, and I love it more with every viewing. It is all the more precious to me now that I have shared it with my children. I love that they took to heart its powerful message of hope.
And also? On a week in which I've been especially busy and barky, I love that I look so nice compared to Captain VonTrapp. I may nag them about table manners, but at least I don't use a whistle. Yet.