It had been a while since I watched that film. So, wanting to make sure I got my money’s worth from my $20 monthly Disney-plus subscription, I watched the movie. Twice.
First, I watched the live-action film that was released earlier this year. I heard that some people didn’t care for it, especially since the actress in the starring role is Black. I read a comment online where a person exclaimed, “It just didn’t seem believable with her being Black.” Um, you mean as opposed to it being believable that from the waist down ... she is a fish?!
To be perfectly honest, I couldn’t even finish typing that last sentence without getting teary-eyed. That was a very special moment in my life, when my girls were young and excitable and filled with wide-eyed wonder, and I was their indestructible, all-knowing, super-dad. Now, over 30 years later, they both are grown up, married, and living in other states, and I could best be described as the destructible, all-forgetting, stupor-dad.
I suppose my brain could have decided to associate something else with that cherished time when my girls were young, such as a favorite TV show, a special family vacation, or a particular holiday. But in my case, my brain chose to connect an animated Disney movie to that special time. I had almost forgotten until I watched the film again.
“No, hon,” I mumbled. “Uh, a bug flew in my eye.”
“Really? What kind of bug?” she asked.
One of my favorite words is nostalgia. It comes from the Greek nostos, which means “return home,” and algos, which means “pain.” When you think about wonderful days gone by, and realize you can never go back, it produces a little twinge of sorrow. But those memories also produce more than a little joy. Yes, it’s sad those special moments are over, but it’s joyful that they are forever etched into your memory.
I wasn’t expecting an animated movie and its soundtrack to unleash a torrent of fond memories from the days when my kids were young and my hair was brown. I really “wish I could be … part of that world” one more time, just for an hour. But I know that won’t happen on this side of Heaven. But that’s fine, as long as those memories bring a smile — and a tear — to my face.