Raindrops and roses, whiskers and kittens.
Edelweiss, edelweiss, every morning your green tree.
Do a deer, a feel male deer.
My boys know all the words to the songs—though they may not be the right ones. We reenact their favorite scenes during our play times. We talk about which Von Trapp girl they are going to marry. After I tell them that they can’t marry Maria because she is already married to the Captain, Leisel, Gretel and Marta become my prospective daughters-in-law. When Reuben kisses me, he grabs my face with both hands, plants a firm one on my lips, and then runs away while telling me to go “Weeeeeeee!!!!”. ‘Edelweiss’ is their favorite lullaby and it is not uncommon to hear a rousing rendition of ‘Do a Deer’ first thing in the morning.
We watch it in the car, on the TV and on the iPad. And NOW on the big screen. When I saw that the movie was going to have special showings in theaters, I immediately bought tickets for our family. What a cool thing to take my boys to see their favorite movie in the theater! I could not let this opportunity pass me by!
I wanted it to be a surprise so I did not tell them what we were going to see until we walked into the theater. When they discovered that the movie was The Sound of Music, there were gasps of excitement, joyous giggles and even some skipping. We found our seats, distributed the popcorn and settled in as the clouds thinned around the Alps and the orchestra warmed up. Once the camera started to zoom in on a gloriously green clearing with a small spinning figure, they shouted “It’s Maria, Mommy!” We all exchanged excited glances.
There was a look of pure joy on each of their faces. They were smiling so big and were so happy that there was a little chuckle that overflowed every few minutes as they recognized something in the film. They pointed at the screen and told me what was coming next. They sang the confidence song, they eagerly anticipated ‘Favorite Things’. Reuben yelled, “They kissed!” after Rolfe and Leisel sang and danced in the gazebo. The boys sang along through the entirety of ‘Do a Deer’. My heart soared with each moment of engagement from my toddlers.
I sat in the dark, looking at the dim reflection lighting up my boys’ face, and I envied them. Oh, to be two years old and have a simple love for a beautiful story and great music. To sit in a movie theater and sing along without a thought to the people around me. To be so happy about a thing that I am on the verge of laughter, all the time. To be myself and relate to the world around me in a natural and untainted way. How freeing, how lovely and innocent.
Instead, I, all grown-up and proper, battle against feeling stressed about how much noise we are making, how many times we had to get up to leave and come back, or the mountain of popcorn accumulating on our seats and at our feet. Every time there is a ‘look’ from the woman sitting next to my ecstatic, yet distractible toddler, I feel like I am doing a bad job. All I want to do is give my kids a fun and memorable experience and yet my focus can so easily become, “Does the world think I am doing a good job?”. This unique outing for my kids now, was yet another job performance review. Such is the life an adult, right?
There are things that my boys are not confident about in terms of their abilities, but that is fair because they are toddlers. However, they are confident in their identity. They are loved by me because they are my sons and that gives them a freedom and a confidence that I think we tend to lose as we get older. We are told to sit up straight, keep to ourselves but yet to be very concerned about what other people think about us. Some of these lessons are just a part of growing up, but I wonder if we have gone too far as a society in thinking way too much what other people think of us and not resting in what God thinks of us, and He does think of us, people! Just read Psalm 139 when it talks about how God knows when we sit and stand, when we come and go, and he even knows us so well he knows what we are going to say before we say it! Jesus said himself that even the hairs on our head our numbered. In spite of this, we forget that we are His children and that, just as I feel with Reuben, Eli and Silas, we are loved by God no matter what because of who we are, not because of what we do or don’t do.
It is funny how this is a huge theme in the Sound of Music as well, albeit more subtle than the one of love, music and Nazis. At the beginning of the story, Maria was a problem, something that needed to be solved by the nuns. Maria’s heart was to serve God but she could not help but be herself, which in the abbey, was not acceptable. She was living under the idea that she needed to fit into a certain mold to be a pleasing servant of God. But as her story unfolds, we see the way God made her to fit into this lonely family, perfectly. They needed her stubbornness and vibrant life to bring them together into something beautiful. AND Maria, just being her plain self was more attractive than the rich and beautiful Baroness. Not-so-flibitygibbit anymore!
So, how do you solve a problem like me, God? So many times I feel like I just don’t fit, like I don’t measure up to other people’s expectations of who I should be. I'm not trying to be a nun, mind you, but I am trying to be a good mother, wife, and servant of God in my current environment, and most days I feel like I am not keeping in step with everyone else. I guess that’s because I was not made to be like anyone else and, my dear reader, neither were you. We need to change our perspectives in order to combat this mentality. Don't live as though you are a problem to be solved, but live as a child who is loved. If we take a cue from my kids and Maria, and lean into the freedom that is already ours as sons and daughters of the King, we will grow into the beauty we were meant to embody and find that purpose for which we were created.