First of all, I’d like to mention that I’m not a particularly emotional moviegoer.

Sure, I get a little (inexplicably) misty at the end of underdog sports movies, when the rag-tag bunch of losers from the wrong side of the tracks beat those uptown snobs in (melo)dramatic fashion.

I’ll also freely admit to having a soft spot for Pixar films, getting a bit choked up at the end of Toy Story 3 when the kid gives away his toys, and of course the first 10 minutes or so of Up, because, well, I’m human. The rest of their oeuvre, however, while great entertainment, never struck me in a particularly meaningful way.

…and now I’m a dad. Things have changed.

Forever, I expect.

Came across Finding Nemo on cable the other day, and with nothing better to do, and Cooper snoozing away, started watching. I couldn’t even say which scene it was, but Marlin says something to the effect of “I have to find my son,” and I got a little lump in my throat.

Huh. That’s weird.

Five minutes later, another reference to rescuing and/or protecting his son, another lump and realize I feel profoundly sad.

What the heck? I’ve seen this movie before, it’s never made me want to cry. Suddenly it’s like I really want him to find Nemo, really want everything to turn out okay, even though I already know the story. I’m infinitely more emotionally invested.

Then Cooper shifts or sighs or does some other little baby thing and I look at him.


Oh, right. I get it now.

Don’t swim out past the reef, Coop.

Not yet.