It had been years, YEARS, since we’ve taken Jacob to a movie theater. He loves music, colors, and animation. Typically, he gets plenty of that at home. The big screen is fun but not when you are worried about disturbing others around you.
Recently we learned that one of our local theaters, offers sensory friendly movies 1 or 2 times a month. Sensory friendly is advertised as lights up/sound down experience. You don’t have to sit through 20 minutes of previews before the feature you came to see finally shows. It is a relaxed setting for those with sensory sensitivities or other disabilities to attend without figure pointing. I so appreciate that someone decided that there was a segment of the population who needed and would enjoy that small change that could make a big difference.
We took Jacob to see Aladdin earlier this month. I knew it wasn’t animated but felt the singing and action could keep his attention. Being our first time, we got there early and planned to let Jacob just stay in his wheelchair. (Where he feels most secure.) While we waited for the show to start, he was very content. I was excited thinking of how great to have discovered something to do with him. Many families came in and most were a parent or two with young children. A perfect setting for a Saturday morning adventure.
Mike sat to Jacob’s left and there was a wide empty space to Jacob’s right. The movie started and Jacob was fascinated. I was sure I would spend more time watching Jacob than the movie. My heart was happy that he was so interested. About 20 minutes into the movie though, he got bored. First, he turned around and reached for the family in the row behind him. Mike quickly intervened and apologized. They were kind and not bothered. Mike moved Jacob’s chair up so he couldn’t touch them. Then Jacob decided he would bother his dad. He proceeded to pull on his shirt, his hair and do whatever he could to annoy Mike. Fairly quickly, Mike moved Jacob away from us to an empty space hoping he’d focus on the movie. Nope. Jacob strained toward the family in the row in front of him. At that point, we knew the movie wasn’t going to hold his attention and we didn’t want to wrestle with him for 90 minutes.
As soon as Mike told Jacob we were leaving, Jacob calmed immediately. Disappointed it wasn’t a winner for Jacob, we were okay, ‘at least we tried’. On the way home, Mike said they’d drop me off and then he wanted to just take Jacob for a long ride in the van. They both enjoy the scenery and it was a beautiful day to do it.
An hour and a half later, they came home. Jacob’s shoes were covered in dust, his face red, and he was sweaty. Not exactly what I expected from a ride through the country. Seems Mike decided to go to a nearby park and see if Jacob might like to walk around. And he did! They had thoroughly enjoyed their outing and Mike had made their own fun. The morning didn’t go as I expected but the end result was what I hoped. Jacob had a great morning!!
I am so very thankful that Jacob has a dad who invests time in his life. Through the years I’ve known too many families where the dad literally walked away. Could not handle parenting a child who needed some extra attention. Not my man. On the heels of Fathers Day I want to say he is the best and exactly what Jacob needs. Yes, Jacob hit the jackpot when it comes to his daddy!