My husband and I recently watched Finding Nemo with our son while we were trying to stay out of the hellfire heat that has been this summer. We were watching the scene where Marlin is taking Nemo to school, and I immediately thought out loud, “Oh my God, I’m Marlin.” My husband just scoffed and said, “You think?” Marlin was constantly trying to hold Nemo’s fin to keep him out of potential harm, dodging other fishes left and right. He was helicopter parenting to the point of Nemo’s annoyance, and it reminded me so much of how I am as a parent.
Finding Nemo came out in 2003, and in 2003, I was a selfish, sunbathing teenager who didn’t give a hoot about the premise of a Disney movie. I watched Finding Nemo quite a lot (just keep swimming, just keep swimming…), but I never truly thought about the relationship between Marlin and Nemo and Marlin’s constant anxiety about keeping Nemo safe. I just really liked Dory.
Cut to 2019 to me watching the movie again as a parent. Even knowing what happens in the end, I had MAJOR anxiety when Nemo swam out past the drop-off to “touch the butt.” It made me imagine all the terrible scenarios my son could get into. I wanted to fold him into me and cry and vow that I would always keep him safe. Thank you so much, Disney, for reminding me of my sometimes crippling parental anxiety. Also thank you so much, pregnancy hormones. I’m sure my anxieties are heightened since I am pregnant and in my second trimester. But still, why does Disney do this to me?
My husband is a much more relaxed parent than I am. Understatement. I, on the other hand, am the opposite of easy, breezy. When my son is in our front yard, I constantly worry he is going to sprint down our steep driveway and dive right into oncoming traffic. And by traffic, I mean the occasional car driving less than 25 miles-per-hour. One morning before taking my son to daycare, he ran around the side of our house, out of sight. Before I could follow after him, my husband stopped me and said, “Chill. He’ll be right back. Let’s just see what happens.” Less than five seconds later, my son’s head could be seen bopping back towards us above the bushes, and I visibly exhaled. That’s how bad it is sometimes. Okay… all the time.
Maybe from now until my hormones level out, I’ll watch something a little less anxiety-driven. Which would mean I can’t watch one single Disney movie until then. Also, don’t even get me started on Finding Dory.