Saturday, June 16, 2012

Our First Movie

If you keep up with us at all, you know family outings aren't always peachy.  Usually a meltdown is expected, and sometimes there's just a low to mid-grade fuss the whole time.  We're pretty used to resigning ourselves to trying something as a family.

We wanted to try something new.  My sister, last weekend, told me that she'd looked up special needs showings of Madagascar 3 in OKC, and there were none for last weekend. There was one, however, this weekend close to Eric's parents.  Eric looked it up, bought the tickets online, and the whole time I'm imagining the worst.  I worried about it last night, and it was the first thing I thought of this morning.  When we told Ryan our plans, social storying to death as usual, all he said was "PEOPLE TRAIN!!!  You will ride the people train!"

Ugh.  Are we really gonna do this?  Everything in me was screaming "Red alert!  Bad idea!  Horrible experience ahead!"  This time, the voice didn't win.

Packed and ready to go, complete with pooled dollars for popcorn and bottled water in the backpack, we headed out.  The theater was easy to find, and after a bit of a jog to a real person instead of a kiosk, we snagged our tickets and headed in.  Ryan waited well, and so did the littles, through the lines for tickets and popcorn.

The theater was mercifully empty.  There weren't a ton of people there, although there were a few other families.  We found seats in the back row of the front section, the perfect place for us.  Nothing between the kids and the screen, but not too close.  Richie announced that he'd like to go potty, and I took him.

When I returned, just in time for the movie to start, I stopped fearing that this would be a kinda expensive and noisy mistake.

Ryan kept repeating "Wow" in his newscaster voice as he gazed at the screen.  Richie and Maelynn were equally as enthralled.  Once the movie was well underway, we kept thinking that surely he'd lose it.

Not once.

Other than asking to have his little popcorn cup refilled, he didn't make noise!  He didn't offer to get up.  One time, toward the end, he decided he'd rather stand, and it took one reminder to sit and he sat.  The littles were great, too!  Mae was wiggly, but she's a two-year-old busy little girl.  And I was excited, as were the kids, that there were trains in the movie!  We LOVE trains!

I can't explain to you how amazing it is that we made it, relaxed and content, through the whole movie!

But the most amazing part came when the movie was beginning to wind down.  The "Move it, move it" song was remixed with a line from the movie into "Afro Circus Remix" and it was colorful and cool!  When it came on, Ryan hopped up and began hand-flapping and humming and grinning ear to ear.  Then he began dancing with an abandon we hadn't quite seen in him!  Some of the other parents, whose kids had a great time watching the movie too, smiled as they watched him so thoroughly enjoy the music.

And the tears flowed as I watched him, so proud and bursting with relief and excitement.  He loved it!  Then, Ryan suddenly turned around, threw his arms around my neck and said "Smile!"

Blessing isn't the word.  This experience was next to life-changing.  We may have found something that we can do as a family and all enjoy, and that's great.  But watching the way not just Ryan but the whole of these special needs kids enjoyed this movie on a completely different level than we did was incredible. Some of the children were excited and ran around a bit, but not in a distracting way.  Some of them yelled out every now and again, and there was other movement and a bit of noise.  But honestly, it was no more than a regular Saturday showing with typically-abled kids.

Then I couldn't help but think of worship.  The different facets of worship, the realization that worship isn't defined as or relegated to music, a service, a certain way of putting on a service, or any program, is one of the most important things God has used Ryan to teach us.  Worship is a way of life.  It's a minute to minute growing of appreciation and love and living in a way that exhibits the faith, love, hope, peace, and gratitude God has given us.  It's an attitude that reflects God's countenance.

Because he's our Father, and he loves watching us enjoy.

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