Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Why are you crying, he wanted to know

I knew that Coco largely took place in the Land of the Dead—one glorious, colorful, sparkly place as only Pixar could make it. I wondered if Max would get what was going on when we went to see it over the weekend. I didn't think he'd be most wondrous of all about why I got weepy.

The movie's about a Mexican boy, Miguel, who dreams of becoming a musician, despite a ban on music in his family owing to a musician who long ago abandoned Miguel's great-great-grandmother and their young daughter (Mama Coco). Miguel ends up meeting his dearly departed relatives on the other side, and embarking on a journey to discover the truth about the skeletons in his family's closet.

Like Up, another Pixar movie that gives me the sobs (OMG that opening montage), the movie touches on tender themes: lost love, family bonds, betrayal, missed opportunities. Max was mesmerized. "Who's that?" he asked a few times, understandably so because there were a whole lot of family members.

I sat there enjoying the movie and relishing Max's enjoyment; it doesn't feel like that long ago he was afraid of movie theaters (Monsters University was the first film he saw in one).

I made it through most of the movie just fine, but there was a scene toward the end that had tears rolling down my face.

"Why are you crying?" Max asked. He does not whisper.

"Because it is making me a little sad, but I'm OK," I said.

"Why?" he persisted.

"Let's be quiet and listen to the move, and we'll talk later," I said.

Max does not like seeing me cry. He doesn't even like it when I laugh so hard that I cry, which happens from time to time. As much as he's matured, he's still figuring out that adults can cry and feel be sad—or mad—but still be OK. If he hears me and Dave having an argument, he has been known to dash out onto our front porch and then ask me incessantly, "I love you Daddy, yes?" (As in: “Do you still love Daddy?”) It's almost enough to stop us from quibbling. Almost.

"It was a very good movie!" Max announced as we walked out. I agreed.

"They died," he said.

"Yes, there were people who died in the movie," I said.

"Your daddy died," he said. He always mentions that when we talk about death, because my dad is the only close family member he's known who has passed away.

"Yes," I said.

And then, I did my best to explain how movies can make you feel sad because you feel for the characters you are watching on screen, and maybe they make you think about things in your own life.

"That movie was about family, and how lucky you are when you have a family who love you," I said. "You have a lot of people who love you, right?"

"Right!" he said. I gave him a hug. "Where are we eating?" he wanted to know, spoken like a teen boy.

Dave called on the way home.

"Mommy cried!" Max reported.

Image from Coco via Disney-Pixar


  1. And it has a lot of implication for Max's emotional regulation for when he is an adult.

    Old Mr Seidman is still very much around in the Land of the Dead.

    And Coco really has the music in it!

    I can see why you cry for UP.

    It does seem that the Land of the Dead has families in Coco and the families still hang together.


Thanks for sharing!

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