Dear Son #1 & #2,
You know exactly what movie I’m talking about from this title alone. Because we watch too much TV? Possibly. Because we’ve seen this movie seven times? Probably. Because it’s the best movie ever? Most definitely. *** I do not speak for Alexander who will claim that Paw Patrol: The Movie is the best movie of all time. We’ll let him run with that. ***
Luca. We love Luca.
We love the characters, the music, the action, the fun and we especially love the saying “Silenzio, Bruno!” Our beloved sea monster/little boy friends Alberto and Luca could not be any more different—kind of like you two really. Alberto is fearless, headstrong and daring, while Luca is cautious, quiet and nervous. And, like all Disney films, there are multiple underlying messages and positive life lessons. There were—as I’m sure you both totally caught on—many to be had:
Just be yourself.
Don’t judge others by what they’re like on the outside, but the inside.
Inclusion and equal opportunities.
Be kind to others.
Stand up for what you believe in.
Don’t let anyone make you believe you are not worthy.
And the one that was the most meaningful to all of us was when Alberto tells Luca that he needs to address the “Bruno” inside his head (the voice that tells him he isn’t able or allowed to do something) by telling it to “Shut up, Bruno!” (Silenzio, Bruno!). This was such a ground breaking concept for all of us that we actually started saying it to one another and you both became slightly braver for it. Plus, for the longest time Daddy had no idea what we were talking about so that was fun.
Many people think that I am fearless and that the fears I have are pretty ridiculous. Okay, horses are freaky and unpredictable animals that can bring serious injury or instant death to anyone who looks at them the wrong way or sneezes without warning; and windchimes are just plain spooky. But yes, I would happily jump off a 30 foot cliff into the water, zip-line across Niagara Falls, or ATV through rocks and mud. Doesn’t mean I am fearless though and could have done with a bit of Silenzio, Bruno! back in the day.
Having a healthy dose of fear is not a bad thing—I wish it came in juice box form as, let’s be honest, Alexander could do with some. But it’s when it holds you back from living your life that it becomes a problem. I’m not talking about sticking your hand in a bucket of snakes or anything (even I wouldn’t do that). I’m talking about such fears as the fear of being alone therefore being with someone even if they’re not right for you; the fear of the unknown and never trying anything new or different; the fear of losing so never loving; and the fear of failure. This last one I can relate to as it drives not only yourself but also others to exhaustion to fulfill the impossible goal of perfection, or it simply keeps you from trying something in the first place. This fear played a big part in my life; then I had you boys and realized I had to stop being afraid. I had to tell Bruno where to shove it.
“Selenzio Bruno!” we’d yell at the playground when one of you was attempting a particularly frightening apparatus. “Selenzio Bruno!” we’d scream on the dock as you prepared to jump into the water. “Selenzio Bruno!” we’d chant at the ladder of the slide into the pool as you mustered the courage to slide down. “Selenzio Bruno!” we’d shout as you climbed onto your bigger bicycles with higher training wheels. “Selenzio Bruno!” we’d roar at the rapids as you climbed in amongst the swirling water. “Selenzio Bruno!” we’d cheer as you braved feeding the giraffe at the zoo (well, one of you. Next year William, next year).
Because of two little words spoken by fictional sea monsters in a Disney movie, you became more courageous, open, adventurous and daring. You realized you are, in fact, able to do things that you were too afraid to do before, that you are braver than you gave yourself credit for, and that life is no fun being lived in fear. Suddenly you were climbing up high at the playground (giving the other moms heart attacks), you were jumping off of a picnic table on the dock into the water (until by-law shut us down, party poopers), and sliding down the slide into the pool (making sure to get it wet the second time around therefore preserving your butt skin).
After having one, two, then three boys I knew that every day I would face a challenge, that the challenge would most likely contain a bodily fluid, a meltdown, or an overwhelming mess; and that I had a high chance of failing at some point. That thought was terrifying to me because failure was something that I found unbearable with the quest for perfection always in the back of my mind. Nagging me every day just like Bruno. Besides, good moms didn’t fail. They couldn’t fail, there was too much at stake, too many little lives that depended on them. Or could they? Could I do it? Could I be the imperfect mom? Lead a life full of failures, mistakes, and lessons learned? Show my kids that I am, in fact, human and therefore beautifully imperfect?
Heck yes I can!
Selenzio Bruno! Because life’s too short, my floors don’t show the dirt, and the ER is open 24/7. Let’s get fearless boys!!
P.S. Seriously. Wind chimes. Creepiest things on the planet. That’s a hard no for Mother’s Day gift.
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Photo Credit: Luca from Disney Plus.
This post is part of a blog hop with Exhale—an online community of women pursuing creativity alongside motherhood, led by the writing team behind Coffee + Crumbs. Click here to view the next post in the series “Unmaking Fears”.