When I was knee deep in the mess of infertility, I was not allowed to watch the movie Matilda. Specifically for one last scene when Miss Honey and Matilda play and rejoice in their happiness together and the narrator says, “As bad as things were before, that’s how good they became.”
I would be reduced to heaving sobs, every. single. time. I saw that (which was more often than you’d think since it’s a cable staple) and mourn that that day hadn’t come for me. And doubting that anything ever could make up for the bad childhood, lost relationships, and sorrow of infertility, but so desperately wishing that something would.
Thursday I was invited to a free press screening of the new Muppet Movie, so Bear and Atti and I drove up to Sacramento, giddy with anticipation. Like most people of my generation, the Muppets were incredibly important to me growing up. Sesame Street taught me to read, the Muppet Show taught me about humor, and I watched the Muppets Take Manhattan so many times I could quote every line. They were a blissful, dreamy, happy spot in an otherwise sad childhood.
I tried to keep my expectations low and just focus on how fun it would be to take Atticus to his first movie. He’s so particular about what he’ll pay attention to that he doesn’t really watch movies, but I have yet to max out his attention span on Sesame Street, so we thought that he’d be down for the Muppets. And he was. He laughed at Fozzie, he danced to the music, and I was in heaven getting to introduce him to something that meant everything to me at his age.
Then came a part in the movie when Kermit and Miss Piggy sang Rainbow Connection, and I totally lost it. I was overwhelmed in that moment of watching my baby love something that I loved, awash in the nostalgia of my own childhood, reconnecting with what felt like long lost friends, and that scene in Matilda came back to me. As bad as things were before, that’s how good they became.
I don’t think anything can ever “make up” for hardship. That darkness will always be a part of me that I have to embrace, but now, so is the joy. Times have been hard, but they have also been great. And having my little guy on my lap, with my big guy next to me as we watched the Muppets return to us in exactly the way they should? Well, I’ll be coasting on that joy for a long time.