We have a secret love in this house.

His name is Will Smith.

I adore Will Smith.  Seriously, I can’t think of a single movie he’s done that I haven’t loved, regardless of how many times I’ve watched it.  The comedies, the dramas…they’re all fantastic. I’ve loved my Will for many years now…luckily, BrightSide likes him just as much so we don’t have any of that pesky jealously nonsense.

We recently decided it was time to introduce the kids to Our Precious in the hope that they, too, would fall in love with Will.  Because, you know…parenting.  It’s important to shape the minds of tomorrow and all.

We started off with the Men in Black movies.  They’ve seen MIB I and II now – both were huge hits, movies that left us all giggling madly in the family room.  We were off to a good start.

And then we had the bright idea to watch Independence Day together.  (Well, BrightSide thought it was a great idea. TECHNICALLY, I went along…though I have to admit as a willing participant.)

Conceptually, this seemed like a good plan.  T-man is fascinated by planes, the military, and aliens, and Bear’s always game for a good time.  What could go wrong?

The kids were rolling along just fine right up to the part where Will Smith opens the alien spaceship that crashed in the desert.




Spoiler Alert!  If you’re one of the two hundred or so people who haven’t seen Independence Day but plan to, you might want to skip to the end.




That alien sighting was when we hit the first bump.  Will Smith punched the alien with his “Welcome to Earth!” line and BrightSide and I burst out laughing, but the kids were just a little too…quiet.  Reticent.  Like they didn’t quite know what to do with what they were seeing.

We figured no big deal, they were trying to make the leap from comedic Men In Black aliens to the (admittedly pretty realistic) Independence Day ones.  We joked around about how cool they were, tentacles and all, then moved on.

The weird vibe in the room spiked again when they got the alien into the lab at Area 51.  (You’re not still reading if you haven’t seen the movie, right?  RIGHT?!  Spoiler Alert!!!)  First there was the up close look at him, but then when a scientist started dissecting the (presumably dead) alien all hell broke loose.

Bear stared wide-eyed at the screen while T-man curled into a pillow, watching the movie through the crook of his arm.  They were practically vibrating, kids on the edge, when the alien’s eyes popped open and he attacked the people in the room.  I believe certain young people may have actually come up off the couch.

And when the moment passed?

Bear looked at BrightSide and squealed, “THAT WAS SO COOL!” while T-man cried out, “Why?! WHY would you show me that?! YOU KNOW I’M AFRAID OF ALIENS!”

Huh?  Umm, no, I didn’t.  I know you’ve watched a ton of stuff about UFOs, and we endured a period of time when you talked about aliens until I thought I would lose my mind, but you never once told me you were scared of aliens.

Minor parenting fail.  I guess T-man was interested, but apparently he was equal parts terrified. Oops.

At any rate, we enjoyed the rest of the movie, cheering on Will Smith as he kicked alien invader butt, and everyone agreed it was an awesome movie.  As the kids headed off to bed, though, T-man commented that we shouldn’t be surprised if he showed up bedside after an alien nightmare…I very subtly pointed at BrightSide and said that was the parent he should shake awake.  (Hey, it was his idea in the first place!)

Well, waddya know if it wasn’t 1:00am when I opened my eyes to find T-man’s wide peepers staring into my face.  (Both of my kids have always been lurkers.  They just stand there – bedside – and stare until I wake up.)  Sure enough, he’d had a nightmare, so every time T-man closed his eyes he saw the aliens again.

I patted the bed so he’d lie down with me.  I talked to T-man while he calmed down, but it quickly became clear there was no way I’d get him to cross the house to get back into bed by himself.  That’s when I shook BrightSide’s shoulder to pass the baton.

There was about a minute there when my hubby just blinked at me – I think he may even have briefly gone back to sleep – but BrightSide figured out I was serious when I kept waking him up. Over.  And over.  By then T-man was giggling, shocked that I really truly wasn’t getting out of bed, but it simply wasn’t an option.  My back had cramped up again, and it had taken everything I had to clamber into bed and find a comfortable position; there was no way I was moving.

Eventually BrightSide walked T-man back to his room (sent off with a cheery “Hey!  It was YOUR bright idea to show him the movie about aliens attacking Earth!”) and we got through the night without any more late night visitors.

We’ll put this one in the win column overall.  Okay, sure, maybe the alien thing traumatized one kid just a bit, but I think we’re well on the way to two more hardcore Will Smith fans.