Monday, December 3, 2012

Our Wives Are So Worried About Us

About a month ago, we stumbled upon the movie Apollo 13 on TV. Since the boys have been enthralled with space over the past year or so, Brian kept it on and explained the situation to them—and explained that those were not the real astronauts, but actors pretending to be the real astronauts. Then they looked at pictures online of the real astronauts. It got to be late. We put the boys’ pajamas on and let them keep watching the movie. Clark fell asleep on the couch. Cal sat, glued to the movie, until it was over and we plopped them both in bed.

When they woke up it was all they wanted to talk about. I bet you can guess the boys’ favorite story to reenact now. The Gruffalo has taken a backseat to Apollo 13 Astronauts. Their favorite place to play it is on the metro. Which is good for practical reasons—they’re engaged and entertained for the entire ride, but like it or not, so is everyone else around them. We were out on the metro three times in the past two weeks, and many metro riders have now been exposed to the boys’ imaginations while trapped in a small space with them.
The awkward part is that the boys reference their wives at home who are so worried about them, the Apollo 13 astronauts. Loudly. Loudly, these three year-olds inform the whole train car that they have wives at home who are worried. What can I say? There's nothing I can say to make that not weird.

They both address each other each time they talk as “Hey Apollo 13 astronaut…” and they also call me by the same name. I mean, there were three astronauts in Apollo 13, so it’s perfect. So, as we are rumbling along on the train, all the stone-faced commuters staring out the window or in their newspaper, Clark usually starts everything off by loudly proclaiming, “Houston, we have a problem.”

Then they go on to talk to each other (and everyone because they don’t know how to talk quietly) about the explosion in the oxygen tank, and how brave they are being as they figure out how to get home safely. “We’ve lost the moon,” Cal will somberly tell us. Then we will discuss how there are so many scientists and engineers on Earth who are helping us figure out how to get home. Occasionally, one of the boys will scream and point out the window, “There’s Saturn!” which startles most people, but not me anymore. This will start off a series of exuberant planet-sightings out the windows. “Jupiter! Neptune! There’s Mercury! That’s my favorite planet!”
The best part happens on our way home from downtown. We come out from underground a few stops before ours. As soon as we go from being in the dark tunnels to being in the light of day they start loudly clapping and woo-hooing. Apollo 13 landed! The people are so happy! Everybody is hugging! This usually gets quite a few grins and chuckles from passengers. When we get off at our stop they clap again and hug. “Our wives are so happy to have us home!”

And I hold their hands and walk my Apollo 13 astronauts to the elevator space ship, where they start a countdown to liftoff to the moon.
Everybody is so happy to see the Apollo 13 astronauts!


  1. Replies
    1. Isn't it fantastic? The funny thing is that I didn't even notice how amusing it is until I started talking about it at a party the other day. The women I was telling the story to were laughing so hard they were almost crying. That's when I realized I really needed to write about it. :)

    2. I wish I rode the metro, just so I could see this show.


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