My Amazing Discovery At the GI Film Festival

GI Film Festival

Last night I drugged myself up with over-the-counter cold meds and headed to the GI Film Festival Cinematic Salute at our local movie theater. The day started out with a raging headache that was complimented with the feeling a small elephant had camped out on my chest. I had slept very little, felt physically horrible, and was also pretty sure I was winning at being a horrible mother.

The day before had started my slight decline. I had planned on going to the Antique Auctions with my son, but when I awoke feeling achy and looked out the window to see sleeting rain I foresaw a cold day in an unheated barn and opted out. Instead, we headed to one of his favorite locales and searched for some antique treasure. I love antiques, though nothing at all similar to my son’s interests, but still I understand the allure. I promised him more antique stores the next day, praying my minor symptoms didn’t blossom into a full on illness…but they did, forcing me to cancel the expected antique jaunt.

So I was feeling pretty shitty as a person and as a mom, double whammy. I decided to try to salvage the day and head to a movie with him. I figured I could suck it up and sit through a movie, at least we would be out of the elements. I had no idea what was out, but figured worst case Batman vs. Superman might be of interest. I wasn’t super excited about the flick, but it wasn’t about me. As I scrolled through the list of movies I stumbled upon The GI Film Festival Cinematic Salute.

The Festival was a one night, one showing only event and it was only happening at select theaters throughout the country. I couldn’t believe our luck that it was showing at our small town theater and I actually found out about it BEFORE it occurred. I’m notorious for missing out on shit. I knew my son would be all over it. I looked my upper respiratory infection in the eyes and gave it the proverbial finger. This also presented a wonderful excuse for going out to dinner since I had zero desire to cook. I was treating this whole evening like an event, a mom and son night out.

Calling my son into the kitchen I proposed the evening; dinner and a movie about the Real Inglorious Bastards of WWII and an epic tale of perseverance by Marine Sgt. Rob Jones who is a double amputee above the knee veteran who biked across the country, in the winter. He was all in.

We headed out and hit CVS so I could stock up on some legal drugs to combat my raging sinuses. Next up was a fancy dinner at a wonderful steak house. In an effort to maintain my shaky diet progress I opted for a simple, healthy, low carb dinner. It was divine, even if I did forgo the beer. Rushing through our meal we spoke a little as he finished up a book (about Afghanistan). I caught his attention when I suggested the two of us read the same book. I had just picked up some used copies of books I had to read growing up and didn’t appreciate as a 16 year old, but thought as a 40 year old it might be of more interest.

“Want to read the same book?” I half heartedly tossed out into the quiet dinner air.

“Like a book club?” he asked.

“Yeah,” I casually respond.

“Huh, yeah we could do that. Let’s start with one book and see.” He cautiously says before returning to his plate.

We continued to shovel bite after bite down our throats in an effort to make our film on time. Arriving at the theater we found it is just us and one other patron. There were no trailers, an unheard of event for any modern day movie. Tilting our chairs back and settling in to watch the two movies. As I suck on cough drops he fiddles with the arm rest.

“What are you doing?” I ask exasperated.

“Oh, I wanted to pick it up so I could put my head on your shoulder.”

Then my heart exploded and I realized what an amazing kid I have sitting next to me. That there have been many trials and tribulations with this child throughout his 12 years on this planet, but they were all worth it. I mean sure I would have really appreciated if someone would have given me a heads up when he was four throwing a shit fit on the side of the road that it would all be ok, but would I have appreciated this moment as much as I did? Doubtful. If someone had said all the doctors appointments, the teachers conferences, the diet changes, the medication adjustments, and the therapy appointments would culminate with this moment sitting in a movie theater watching The Real Inglorious Bastards with my son while he sat with his head on my shoulder I wouldn’t have believed it would be possible.

On the way out I said to him, “Thanks bud for going with me, I have to say it was one of the best dates I have had in a long time.”

To which he replied, “Well to be fair you haven’t been on a date in a long time.”

Just when I thought we were having a moment he hits me with sarcasm. Like momma like son.

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