Julie Andrews had it right. Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens are pretty sweet indeed.
My daughter has been on a musical kick lately. It started with Annie, and was quickly followed up by Mary Poppins. It went downhill for awhile when dad introduced her to High School Musical. But when I saw one of my favorite movies of all time – The Sound of Music – on sale at the grocery store, I knew I could get things back on the right track.
I loved The Sound of Music growing up. I remember it was always on right after Christmas, and it was the one night of the year my parents let us stay up past midnight so that we could watch the whole thing. The movie conjures up memories of snuggling with my dad by the Christmas tree while we sang along to songs I knew by heart.
So I was delighted when Bobo took to the movie. Snuggling in bed while teaching her Do-Re-Mi created a warm fuzzy feeling for me that took me back to my own childhood.
It wasn’t until the second half of the movie, undoubtedly darker than the first, rolled around that I started to question whether or not it was a good idea. It was during the scene where they showed some soldiers and the swastika that Bobo asked me, “Who are those men, Momma?”
Without thinking, I answered back, “Those are the Nazis.” As soon as I uttered the words, I regretted them.
Because she immediately countered back with, “What’s a Nazi?”
I suddenly wished maybe we were watching High School Musical instead. Obviously, there was no way I was going to explain to my preschooler what a Nazi was. I fumbled with the answer, and mumbled something about them being soldiers.
She was satisfied with the answer. For the time being, at least.
I, however, was not.
You see, my daughter understands that most things we see on TV or in the movies are not real.
She understands that I am not Mary Poppins. And that one does not simply snap their fingers to clean up their room.
She understands that cars don’t really fly, ala Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
She understands that the people in the movies are actors playing a role. They sometimes wear masks or disguises, but underneath, they are just people pretending to be something that is fantasy.
So how do I explain to her that some things you see in movies are real? That horrors happen in life that I won’t be able to explain or justify? That people like the Nazis actually existed and they were bad, not because they wore a scary mask or evil costume, but because they committed awful, incomprehensible acts against other humans?
Those are questions I don’t want to address, but I know I will have to eventually. And, thankfully, she has a few more years of innocence and childhood before we likely have to worry about heavy conversations like that.
Maybe when she’s 16, going on 17, the question will come up again. And maybe, by that time, I’ll have a better answer.