Having kids changed my life in more ways than I can count, most of which I could have predicted. What I didn’t realize was how it would affect my television consumption. And I’m not even talking about the fact I rarely get the chance to watch a full show or that I usually have to rewind the same part of the show multiple times to actually hear what is being said over the chaos in my house or the insane backload of episodes stored on my DVR. Having two little ones changed how I react to my favorite shows.
I sobbed no less than five times while watching the season premier of This is Us and followed that up two days later with water works while watching the season premier of Grey’s Anatomy. I’m not embarrassed to share I am one of the few people who still watches Grey’s. Fun fact: Shonda Rhimes went to a high school one town over from where I grew up, so it’s basically like we’re besties.
Spoiler alert: If you haven’t seen the This is Us stored on your DVR yet, stop reading now!
In the beginning of the show, there was a flashback to where a group of mean girls made fun of Kate’s body at the public pool. Immediately tears streamed down my face and I felt cut to the core. My girls are only four and seven, but sadly, the mean girls have already started to surface at school. My older daughter is very petite for her age. At seven-years-old she clocks in at 45 inches tall, weighs 38 pounds and wears a size 10 toddler shoe. Call me biased, but she is freaking adorable and her big personality is a great compliment to her tiny build.
Another little girl in her class called her names like “midget” and “dwarf” and would hold her backpack over her head and out of her reach. This gave my daughter a complex about her size and she would come home multiple times a week in tears. She even stopped wearing the outfits she loved in place of t-shirts and baggy leggings and my heart broke as I watched my once outgoing daughter draw into herself.
Once I found out who the little girls was my momma bear instincts kicked in and I wanted to bop her…and her mother! Calm down, I would never actually do that or advocate for violence, which is why I am glad no one else can hear my inner dialogue. I’ll save the outcome of that story for another day, but that scene in This is Us connected in realtime to what my daughter dealt with last year and watching it felt very raw.
The other scene where I sobbed like a baby was when the mom, Rebecca, had to be strong and tell her kids their father was dead. My husband is alive and well, but even the suggestion of ever having to tell my children devastating news like that was gut wrenching. My husband walked into the room while I was ugly crying and assured me it was “just a TV show.” Yep – I’m not an idiot and realize it’s not real, but the situation is real for so many people. It also brought me back to the middle of the night on December 7, 2008, when I got the call from my mom that my dad had passed away after a heroic battle with Melanoma. I was 30 at the time and can’t begin to imagine if I had been 15 like the triplets in the show.
By the time the Grey’s Anatomy season premier aired on Thursday I was ready for some crazy hospital hook-ups, but wasn’t ready for Owen’s sister to be rescued and her announcement that she had to get to Iraq to take care of her 10-year-old son. Turns out the boy’s parents were killed when he was four and she took him in and has been his mother ever since. However, he didn’t have clearance to come to the states her. Argh – here come the thoughts of being separated from my children and them being scared and alone.
Perhaps cracking open a frosty can of Trader Joe sparkling rose´ before the show started didn’t help matters. Never thought I’d enjoy wine from a can, but it was delicious and because I was feeling fancy, I did pour it into a wine glass. Wine or not, my perspective on fictional situations often hit home now I have other human beings to consider besides myself. This is why I now tear up at commercials, while reading books and even hearing stories on the news about people abusing children. Having kids changes you and makes you realize the world is bigger than your little corner and that your actions and how you deal with situations mold the little minds in your house. Which brings me back to what I repeat to my girls daily – “Always lead with kindness.”