There are certain things I have longed to share with my children since they began their lives on this strange little planet of ours — experiences I hold so dear that I want to hit fast forward so they’re old enough to enjoy them now. You know, right now.
I can’t wait to take them to Disneyland, for example, or to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef, and I frequently bemoan the fact that they’re still not quite old enough to begin reading The Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter.
But when I caught Marvel Girl and Miss Malaprop in the hallway before school last week using their hairbrushes as lightsabers (one Skywalker Blue, one Vader Red), I felt my breath catch and I dared to wonder — could it be? Was it time? Were they finally ready to watch Star Wars?
Ever so casually, I dropped a description of the morning’s Jedi-inspired skirmish into conversation with The Bloke when he got home from work, and saw a thoughtful gleam appear in his eye. After all, this was the man for whom I had purchased a Darth Vader helmet (complete with voice changer) for his thirtieth birthday, just to see that split second upon opening it when he looked like a five year old — and maybe even felt like it too. But that was before we’d even thought of having kids…
It felt like the dawning of a new age. A new hope.
A New Hope! Because that, of course, is where any true believer would begin their journey into embracing the intergalactic. (We don’t take too kindly to that Jar Jar Binks nonsense around here.) No, The Bloke and I were in firm agreement that Episode IV was the place to start.
And so, yesterday, we did. After spending part of the day piecing together part of a huge puzzle of the (actual) Solar System, talking about stars and planets and space travel and the International Space Station, we finished the day by watching the first half of Star Wars: A New Hope.
Marvel Girl, excited and already entranced, read out the famous opening lines to her sister as they scrolled up the star-filled screen. Miss Malaprop, never one to be outdone by her more literate sister, proudly wore her glow-in-the-dark Millennium Falcon T-shirt to mark the occasion.
Why does Tatooine have more than one moon? What exactly are the Jawa people?
Why does Darth Vader sound like that? Why did he have to blow up Alderaan?
Are there men inside all the Storm Trooper suits? And how come Jabba the Hutt looks like a giant slug?
Mum, did you really have a Princess Leia toothbrush when you were little?
Can we go to a Spaceport like Mos Eisley one day?
But why not? Are you sure it’s not real?
We can’t wait to watch the second half with them this afternoon. There are sure to be many more questions, but there will no doubt be moments of pure joy for everyone crammed onto our couch. Our little Padawans haven’t even heard of Ewoks yet, or seen anyone ride a Tauntaun, and they don’t know who Luke Skywalker will met on the swamp planet of Dagobah or that he has a sister.
But seeing my girls enter a new world — no, make that new universe — has been a privilege I am now glad I waited for: they were ready. Marvel Girl got up this morning and drew detailed pictures of R2-D2, Obi-Wan Kenobi and all the characters she has encountered so far while Miss Malaprop and I finished off the Solar System puzzle.
It’s been a great reminder that life in our own galaxy is pretty unreal.
May to Force be with you.
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