The waiting and the wanting is lost

“The Sound of Music” celebrated its 45th anniversary last year.
Impossible, I thought. I very clearly remember the drive from our home to Winnipeg to see the movie. I was 10.
We went to the Kings Theatre on Portage Avenue—a grand old theatre. And this excursion was a huge deal. I wore my Easter clothes: a crisp dress, white hat and little white gloves, and my patent shoes were polished to a gleam.
I let my mother brush my hair without protest or complaint because I was going to a real movie theatre with a balcony and an intermission.
An intermission! I was going to see a movie that was long enough to require a rest in the middle.
The excitement was unbelievable. I didn’t sleep the night before and was dressed in my Sunday garb before anyone else was up. I sat on the front steps of my aunt’s house on Parkview Street with my cousin and we waited.
Of course, I was obligated to go back in and change back into play clothes and eat and brush my teeth. But I remember that waiting on the front step, my arms wrapped around my waist, bending over my knees to contain the glorious feeling.
We only had to walk three blocks to the theatre. I wanted to run ahead, but I had to contain my enthusiasm and behave like a “lady,” my mother said with a no-negotiation tone to her voice. Normally, I would have put up a fuss at the notion I was required to pull off being a “lady” but I would have sold my soul to go the Kings Theatre that spring day, so I was unusually co-operative.
We found our seats in the balcony, right in the middle on the rail. The ceiling was ornate, the upholstery a thick red corduroy-like velvet that felt bristly and rough. Formal-looking employees with white gloves and small flashlights were helping people to their seats.
Then the entire audience collectively sucked in their breath as the lights were dimmed. My hand jumped to my mouth.
The music began, building slowly as the camera’s lens spanned the mountains, building and building, a momentum all its own. When Julie Andrews spun around with her arms stretched out, I was transported to a place of magic and wonder.
I sigh even now, for no matter how many times I see and hear that opening scene, my heart still feels a little lighter and bubbles swirl around in my insides—a glorious sensation.
I know every generation has concern and misgivings for the next generation. The older we get, the more often we are inclined to start sentences with, “In my day.” But I can’t help wondering if children today get to experience the wonder of something truly special.
I find myself wondering what moments in my children’s lives may have echoed that day at the Kings Theatre.
My children never really wanted for anything. They grew up on a farm with ponies and pets galore. They had opportunity to experience so many things on a daily basis, fun wrapped up in hay forts and horse shows and calves being born.
We all want our children to have more than we did; it’s only natural. But I fear something is lost. The aching and the waiting and the wanting seem to be hurried to get to the having.
Maybe it’s just because my children are grown that I no longer get to witness their wonder. I’d rather not think I have robbed them of their dreaming by giving them too much.
I’m told my generation has raised a group of individuals whose strongest feature is their sense of entitlement. That may be true, but I hope when they are my age that they will remember sitting with hands in fists tucked under their arms and pressed into their tummy to control the bubbles, when their eyes opened so wide their mouth was obligated to follow suit.
It is those things that keep us warm as we age; those moments that add the colour and texture to our journey.
wendistewart@live.ca

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