Nathan and I recently went to see Won’t You Be My Neighbor, a documentary about Fred Rogers and his incredible journey to remind the world that you should love your neighbor and love yourself. I have had the opportunity to reflect on the documentary and could probably write an entire series on my thoughts, but I wanted to take an opportunity today to share what this documentary meant to me on the day that Nathan and I went to see it.
We went to see it on a Wednesday evening, but I have to back up to Tuesday to give you an idea of the frame of mind I was in when we walked into the theater. I was one day shy of 34 weeks pregnant with my third child, Michael. I had spent the morning in relative discomfort and I finally called my clinic to ask if it would be okay for me to take some ibuprofen. They said no and told me to go home and rest. As I got home they called back and said if I was feeling uncomfortable in 2 hours I should go straight to the hospital. Two hours later, we were en route to the hospital where I spent the next four hours being evaluated before getting 1000 mL of fluids and being sent home. While I was there, my mother-in-law was good enough to pick up Elizabeth and Ada from daycare. Elizabeth threw up after being picked up from daycare and children have to be symptom-free for 24 hours before going back to school or daycare. So when I got home from the hospital I knew I would be staying home with my kids on Wednesday.
Wednesday was a particularly challenging parenting day. I was worn out, Elizabeth was worn out, and Ada. . . let’s just say that Ada has embraced the “terrible twos” in a way I previously thought was not possible. Young child shouts of “I hate you!” echoed through our home that day, despite my best efforts to make a fun and engaging day. By the time Nathan got home my relief at seeing another adult was indescribable. My youngest sister, Emily, came over to babysit and Nathan and I were on our way. As I reclined into my movie theater seat and ordering dinner, I could feel myself slowly begin to unwind.
The movie began and I was immersed in the vision of a man who quickly identified a tool and how it could make our world a better place. His simple messages like “won’t you be my neighbor”, “I like you just the way you are”, and “there are many ways to say ‘I love you’” were exactly what my bruised soul needed to close out the day feeling okay. More than that though, those messages where what I needed to be a better parent on Thursday and to teach my children that it’s okay to have a bad day and it’s what you do after a challenging time that truly matters.