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The first Disney movie she saw was Cinderella so it only seemed appropriate that the first movie she watch in a theater be the same. Last week, we made that happen. Her mother and I took the afternoon off work and purchased tickets for the noon show. We weren’t sure what to expect since Madison likes to act movies out while she watches them and, in true toddler form, she typically asks a million questions throughout… yet we braved the dark room and the large screen anyway.

Armed with her own choice of candy and a tiny bucket of popcorn, we made our way to the center of the very top row at the very back of the theater and unfolded our seats. We sat through the previews and the short film Frozen Fever (which she loved, of course) then we relaxed a little more once the movie started. For the most part, we had the theater to ourselves with fellow patrons made up of elderly couples and a few other toddlers and their parents, maybe 25 people total.

Surprisingly, she watched the entire film. There were moments of dancing in front of her seat, spinning in time with the characters at the ball and laughing out loud when Ella was trapped inside the pumpkin, her eyes grew large when her dress was transformed and revealed and she asked for one just like it. She only requested to leave once towards the end of the movie which we considered a successful experience given her age and the limit it places on her attention span.

Later we heard her talking about the movie and while we were expecting her to highlight certain scenes with animals or the colors of the dresses or the magic of the fairy godmother, we were surprised to hear her focus instead on the moral of the story: have courage and be kind. She repeated it several times just as it was in the film and there in that moment, I realized how much she’s absorbing and, despite my efforts of doing it for her, what she’s able to filter.

Have courage. Be kind. Lessons we’ve indirectly taught her along the way, but somehow she managed to learn in an hour and forty five minutes as it was displayed on the big screen. Lessons we haven’t really had to stress as she seems to possess the qualities naturally. Lessons she’ll continue to learn in the days going forward as I find I’m tested in those areas more so than any other as an adult. Lessons I think everyone could implement more often… to have courage and be kind. 

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