Family night at the movies

Jul 7, 2008 at 12:07 p.m. ET

A few nights ago we tried going out to the movies as a family. It was a noble idea, but the idea was far better than the reality.

PopcornI've waited years for this opportunity. I miss going to the movies in general; I don't get to nearly as many movies as I would like. Logistics seem to get in our way. I have some fond memories of hot summer nights in the cool of the movie theater, getting lost in a story. I want my kids to have similar memories of the long summer days stretching even farther. Popcorn and drinks and my family just being together nicely. Okay, the occasional poke, but still.

We finally decided that it was time to give it a try in our family. Alfs soon will not want to be seen with his parents in public, and Sunshine is just at that movie watching threshold. We may have a small window of being able to have this kind of family outing at all.

Choosing a movie for all of us

With children of different ages and developmental stages, it was first hard to choose a movie. What Alfs wanted to see was not what Woody wanted to see was not what Sunshine wanted to see – never mind the parents. There are so many "kids" movies that are released these days that we find completely inane. But then again, I didn't want one parent with one or two kids in one theater and the other parent with one or two kids in another theater. The point was going all together.

The simple answer seemed to be to choose a movie appropriate for Sunshine, but Alfs and Woody most definitely did not want to see what she wanted to see. In the end we chose something mostly okay for Sunshine, something Woody definitely wanted to see, and one deemed "fine, whatever" by Alfs. We parents could deal with the choice, we decided.

Once a movie was selected, I tried to plan the outing appropriately for all of us. Sunshine has been to afternoon movies, but not evening movies, so I chose an early evening movie. We ate dinner early, pre-ordered movie tickets online (one of the greatest uses of the Internet, in my opinion) and were on our way.

Making the best of it

The parking lot was packed, but once inside our theater was not too crowded. We found seats near the back and settled in. We passed a large, unhealthy bucket of popcorn back and forth. The previews started, then the actual movie. All was well for about thirty minutes. It's those thirty minutes I'll hold on to.

Soon enough it was clear that Alfs was bored and Sunshine was overstimulated. We fumbled through for about another twenty minutes before my husband took Sunshine out for a walk and I suggested to Alfs that he just close his eyes and doze. And, honestly, the movie wasn't that good. Woody, however, was loving every minute of it. I'm glad someone did!

So my great plan for family movie night was somewhat of a bust. I'm glad we made the effort at the very least. I hope we'll be able to try again, maybe or maybe not this summer.

In the meantime, I'll try to get the movies in other ways. And maybe splitting up the parents and kids for different movies isn't such a bad idea. The cool of the movie theater on a hot summer night, getting lost in a story is still a wonderful thing.

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