Out Late

I didn’t take Goldy to the midnight premiere of Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone, not because she was only 6 but because I didn’t want to deal with the hassle. I could have and sometimes I think I should have, but I didn’t. Millions of other parents around the globe did.

Some parents would not even let their children read the books. Is that still a thing? Do people still boycott Harry for being into witch craft? I started checking them out from our library for Goldy when she went into kindergarten because she already showed a high aptitude for reading and I wanted her to read something that would captivate her and draw her is so she would want to read. It worked. I started reading to her at the beginning of her kindergarten year and by the end of the year she was reading herself book two. I read them, as well, so when I heard about the boycott and parents not appreciating the way Harry got away with so much and never got in any trouble (except almost getting killed a lot, the apparently missed all that?) I wanted to ask, “But did you read the book?”  Harry Potter isn’t Curious George. He doesn’t go around letting all the zoo animals out of their cages and win and medal for putting them back. He saves the world, you know. Even us Muggles. It just goes to show, someone will judge you no matter what you do.

Maybe you’ve already guessed this isn’t about the Harry Potter series, though. It’s about including your children in something you love, even when others disagree with it. It’s about sharing an experience. It’s about taking your child out of the house past their bedtime.

When I taught preschool I knew a 4 year old boy who watched The Dark Knight before bed every single night. His dad loved it so he loved it. That movie scares the hell out of me so I asked him, “Isn’t it scary?” He told me a little but that Batman was a good guy and he saved everyone and anyway, he liked scary movies. Of course, at 4, there was a lot he didn’t grasp about the plot of the movie, but he still loved it. I let the girls watch a lot of things other parents may find questionable, but I doubt the boys will be watching The Dark Knight or it’s sequel at four. This kid, though, he was fine. He didn’t have nightmares, he wasn’t violent in class, he was just an ordinary four year old boy that liked scary movies. His parents made a choice I would not have made and he was still okay. Even if he wasn’t okay, though, even if he turned into a little freak, it would not be my my place to pass judgement.

I wondered for a moment, after the shooting in Colorado and all the hoopla that surrounded it, if he went to the midnight premiere. He would be about 7 now and his dad really loved the Batman movies and he was one of those dads that really enjoyed his kids and I could totally see him taking his kid to see The Dark Knight Rises at midnight so they could share that experience. He knows what his kid can handle. He knows that he likes scary movies. It’s not a choice I would have made because just the previews with Bane terrify me but I can’t say this enough, it wasn’t my choice to make.

Statistically, a six year old is more likely to be harmed in their own home or by a babysitter than at a theater, even at midnight. There is no sensible reason to believe that your child will be permanently damaged by a late night movie. There is no reason to fear for their safety at a midnight premiere.

Two weeks ago if someone had asked you, “Do you worry that your child might get shot in a movie theater?” You would say no, that thought had never occurred to you. (You can lie to yourself and say that yes, you considered that, but don’t try to lie to me.) If, two weeks ago, someone had asked you, “Do you ever worry that your child may be abducted from your home or hurt by a babysitter?” you would most likely have admitted that yes, sometimes the thought crosses your mind. Because that actually happens. It’s in the news more frequently than any of us want to discuss. Theater shootings, pretty uncommon. You are not a bad parent for assuming your child is safe in a theater, even at midnight. The parent shamers would have you believe that they saw this coming but their pants are bursting into flames as they read this.

My parents used to take us to midnight mass on Christmas. Church bombings and shootings are also statistically more likely than theater shootings. As previously mentioned, I had to take my kids to Walmart at midnight for medicine and the crime rate at Walmart is ridiculous.  Bad things happen everywhere at every time of day but not commonly in theaters, even at midnight. No one could have predicted this. I’m just going to keep reiterating this point until the blamers and shamers of the world get it. Stop blaming the victims of this tragedy for wanting to share an experience with their children.

I’m running out of time so I just want to throw in a side note for the parents of the infant that was also present. Again, it’s not a choice I would have made, but not for the reasons you are thinking. We took Sharkbaby to movies when he was really small because it was the only way to get out of the house. We always went to late shows so he would sleep and planned to leave if he woke up. He never did. We never had a single problem. I would not have taken him to a premiere because it would be too crowded for my personal preference and because I would not have wanted to leave in the middle if he woke up. I assure you the teens and 20 somethings in the theater were louder and more unruly than any of my own babies ever have been in a movie. I saw a comment somewhere where a woman said, “Even if you leave the theater or give him a bottle, babies are loud, that split second before you get the bottle in can be ear splitting and I want to hear my movie.”  She must not go to midnight premieres of geeky movies. People talk, laugh, clap, yell at the screen, and have a good time. I’m assuming a lot of these blamers and shamers aren’t familiar with a good time, though.

Before you judge me, don’t forget, I’m judging you, too, for your absolutely certainty that you are a better parent or a better person. Be smug. Be self righteous. Just know that not everyone is judging you through your eyes and your experiences so we are not all as enamored by your angry words.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Melissa Limasse
    Jul 24, 2012 @ 18:03:24

    “Church bombings and shootings are also statistically more likely than theater shootings.”
    You’re so right! I didn’t even think of that, but it’s SO RIGHT.


  2. Scott Witmer
    Jul 24, 2012 @ 20:46:35

    Love this post! Thanks, Raz!


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