Sunday, February 16

The "Frozen" Tragedy: How My Son Killed Elsa and What Came After

Here's my daily morning routine, without fail: alarm rings (nope, you shall not know when my alarm goes off), I open my eyes, try to imagine today is a holiday (and struggles every time to return to reality), get up and saunter into the bathroom, brush my teeth, sit on the bathroom for what seems like a century, and while doing that try to pick out my clothes in my mind before I even step into the closet. Fast forward a few minutes later, I'm at the kitchen counter sitting on my stool reading my emails while working very hard to spoon my breakfast into my mouth without ever glancing at my food. Then my wife hollers from outside rushing me to get into the car so I can actually be at work on time. Such is my daily routine minus all the mundane details, which, from what I have listed, should not even make a difference in how my morning goes—slow and uneventful. However, things changed a little since I came out of the theater with my family after watching a near two-hour long Disney's Frozen. Yes, Anna and Elsa changed my morning routine, and eventually my life.
After Frozen, my morning routine was incredibly colorful. I mean, I could hear birds chirping outside my window, even when logic told me there was a snow storm outside and the only birds chirping would most likely be from Old Marjorie's fat cat from upstairs—the cat's name is Garfield, go figure. Yes, cats have the ability to chirp to lure birds into their trap, but that would be another story for another day.
So, back to the subject at hand—my colorful morning, yes. Apart from the birds, I would be singing in my mind, which would eventually trickle down to the tip of my tongue, and before I knew it, I'd be humming "Let It Go" all morning long. Then the humming slowly evolved into singing, and the singing became dancing. Yes, I was twirling from my bed to the bedroom in full vibrancy. My morning was suddenly swift and exciting. I saw snow everywhere in my mind, the snowflakes falling and twinkling from my bedroom ceiling—of course, I imagined them, but even so, the idea of a wonderful delightful morning in contrast to the bland straight-liner morning I'd been experiencing was quite a life-changer.
And then came the game of knocking.
Every time I knocked on my son's door, or any door in the universe, I'd start with, "Do you wanna build a snowman?" The answer from the other side was always, "Go away, Dad." And I'd sing, "Okay, bye." Lovely, wasn't it? But wait, there's more.
At dinnertime, things changed a little too. There was much singing involved. I sang everything I said. Life was suddenly a musical. Youtube became the gateway for all things Frozen, from the multi language versions of "Let It Go" to the behind-the-scenes play-by-play clips of the movie. Every day was Elsa day. Conversations in the family was now all about standing strong and making right decisions, including the incessant idea of an independent woman not ever needing a man to make her whole—my wife seemed to grasp on to this a little more than I. Disney songs slow infiltrated my Spotify account, and all this while, my mornings were continuously melodious and Disney-ish to a point where I found myself stamping one foot on the floor whenever the phrase "Here I stand" from the song "Let It Go" appeared in my mind. Before long, the idea of having a reindeer as a pet was not remotely ridiculous at all.
Then one evening at dinnertime, Hayden, my Olaf, started to sob a little. As a responsible parent, I naturally caressed his hair, gave him a pat on the back and asked, "Do you wanna build a snowman?" The sob suddenly turned into a wail. I was surprised, a little shocked. "Let it go," I said, "let it go." He cried more. Then he looked at me and said the most pin-pricking words I'd ever heard: "Dad, you embarrass me." Suddenly, unexpectedly, the colors around me turned gray and the Elsa in me curled stiff into a dead matter. She died, and my son killed her. I looked at my wife; she shrugged and continued with the dishes. I closed my eyes and prayed to the God of Disney, "Why has thou forsaken me?" No answer. "For the first time in forever . . ." No answer. "I really need a fixer upper . . ." Suddenly, a tune; I heard a tiny voice in me, sharp and high . . . okay, it was Mickey.
"We need to first melt and heal that frozen heart," the Mouse said.
Without a second thought I took my son's hand and said, "Love is an open door, you know. You just have to let your insecurities go. Just let it go. And for the first time in forever, you'll hear music, you'll see the light. And before you know it, if you were to let loose and have a little fun in your life and not worry about what people might say about you, you'll be having fun. It'll just be like playing in summer. And before you know it, we'll be blowing dandelion fuzz without a care, and we'd be doing whatever snow does in summer. And no one can take that away from us. No one. Nothing else matters."
There was a pause, he turned back to his food, ate silently, wiped the tears off his face, and let out a heavy sigh.
That night was quiet, the songs just wouldn't play correctly in me. I didn't find myself skipping or singing. My wife came up to me and said, "Give him time, it'll be fine again." The magic was gone. I looked at the Frozen wallpaper on my computer with Elsa staring back at me. I saw no sparkle. The light dimmed and I lumbered myself to bed.
A few mornings went by, Frozen was slowly forgotten, life went back to what it was before. I was now channeling The Walking Dead (the new season has just started, yay!) as I fumbled my way through my morning routine. Toothpaste on toothbrush, squeeze, squeeze, squeeze. Then mouth slowly opened ahhh as I brushed and gargled, foam running down the corners of my mouth. I was a zombie. No birds chirped outside. My morning was back to the dinosaur days again.
Then there was a knock. Another knock. Knock knock knock.
"Daddy?" Hayden called.
"Yes?" I slurred.
"Uhm . . ."
"What is it? I'm changing."
"I hope it's not too late . . . but . . . uhm . . . do you wanna build a snowman?"
Immediately, the blood in me started to run, my heart was beating again, the colors came back, and I heard a faint tune returning back to me. Disney had answered my prayers. I swung the door open, lifted him up in my arms and hugged him close to my heart. "Yes, yes, yes," I said. But the way it came out, it sounded just like a song. Our song.