It was 1983. The year I turned 10yo. Our State had just been torn apart by Ash Wednesday. I remember standing in the local pool and watching the flames lick the Adelaide Hills. Bob Hawke was starting his reign as this nation’s most “Aussie” leader. Nicole Kidman was a BMX bandit and our favourite model we love to hate, Miranda Kerr, was born, so too were Bec Cartwright and Chris Hemsworth. The High Court blocked construction of the Franklin Dam, the Aussie Dollar floated and Australia won the America’s Cup. But I’m ahead of myself.
The day I’m talking about was April 11. It was the 55th Academy Awards and my most favourite movie of my childhood, E.T. was up for Best Motion Picture. I had everything invested in it winning. Everything. But it didn’t. Gandhi did. I was devastated. Shattered beyond belief. How could the best movie in the entire universe not win? I did the only thing I knew I could do. I ran away.
I remember making a run for it out the front door into the warm night. I remember thinking that I could make a dash down the street and keep running, but it was very dark and I was only wearing a singlet and my knickers. Instead, I ran down the side of the house and stood very still. I listened to my Mum running out onto the road yelling out my name. I cried and felt my anger rising up. How could E.T. not win the best picture?
Moments later I was found and tucked up into bed. Exhausted and miserable I held my knees close to my chest and drifted off to sleep. Tears wet on my cheeks. Being a kid is hard sometimes.
Last night our 5yo girl had her E.T. moment as she watched her favourite team, Josh and Danielle, get knocked off My Kitchen Rules. She sobbed. Inconsolable heartbreak. When you are 5, life can seem cruel. She hasn’t had to say goodbye to people she’s loved in her lifetime. Loss is a new concept for her. This was a big moment for her.
After half an hour of listening to her cry, I knew I had to pull out the big guns. It was time I told her about E.T. It was time I explained to her the moment my favourite alien said good bye to Elliot. When he touches Elliot on the head and whispers: “I’ll be right here.” This scene right here. This scene that I can’t even talk about without choking up.
I took a bit of creative license and added an extra point to the heart. I told my girl that when someone goes away or when you miss someone, you need to hold onto the assurance that they will always be in your memories and they will always be in your heart. She stopped crying, she touched her heart. I touched my heart.
And then we snuggled together and drifted off to sleep with our memories dancing around in our head and love in our heart.
One day she’ll need to know this when she misses me. Being a parent is shattering and awesome, all at once.