Clara’s eyes weren’t big enough to take it all in. She sat frozen in her seat glancing from on theater wall to other theater wall, and from sticky theater floor to the dusty rafters of the dollar theater ceiling. She was in a daze, overcome with wonder and excitement. Her slack jaw was held up by two small red balloon cheeks that pulled the edges of her mouth up in a smile of perpetual fascination.
We had surprised the kids with a trip into town to watch the new Peanuts movie. We didn’t bother telling them why we were making the drive early this morning. They wouldn’t have understood what we were even talking about. They understood that we were going on “An Adventure”, and that was enough. They have hardly watched a movie on a screen larger than their mother’s tablet, and the sights and smells and energy of this magical space station full of people and popcorn and ticket takers in uniform- it was almost more than their little minds could handle.
We ordered pizza to be delivered to our table. We were given special 3D glasses to wear (Clara never took them off for the rest of the day). We sat patiently through each of the trailers and the animated short (Lydia recoiled into my arm in fear as the prehistoric squirrel was launched into space in pursuit of his beloved acorn.)
About an hour into the actual move I sat contentedly watching the movie dance across Clara’s over-sized 3D glasses. She laughed, wiggled, and held back the urge to clap her hands, glancing excitedly at the people sitting beside her in our row of seats.
She suddenly noticed me and looked up. “Dad? I would like to see this one!” she whispered excitedly.
My smile melted and I looked around the room, momentarily confused. “What? See what?”
She pointed at the screen, “This movie. I would like to watch this movie someday.”
I leaned down to her level and said as clearly as I could, “Clara, we are seeing this movie. This is the movie. Right now, we are watching the movie. That is what we were talking about this morning. This is what we are doing.”
Her eyes became bigger and she was silent for a few heartbeats. “You mean we are watching this movie?! The Charlie Brown movie? We are watching it at the theater? I thought this was just a trailer!”
“Huh…” I said quietly to myself. I put my arm around her and squeezed her shoulder. “Huh…” I said again, turning to hand a Twizzler to Lydia who was sitting on the other side of me.