Thoughts while watching Tangled

I watched Tangled with T the other night. We got to the part where Rapunzel is reunited with her parents, and I immediately started tearing up. I get so damn emotional sometimes.

When Rapunzel’s mother looks at her, she recognizes her daughter right away, even though it’s been 18 years. Sure, the animators did a great job making Rapunzel look pretty much exactly like her mother. But it still made me all mushy inside.

It reminded me of something I thought about a lot during those days T spent in the NICU.

When T was born, he was taken immediately to the NICU. I saw the flash of a baby passed between nurses, but I didn’t see his face until several hours later when the nurse loaded me up in a wheelchair and pushed me down the hallway.

I wondered if I would recognize him. I wondered if I would know that he was mine, just by the way he looked. I wondered if that was a part of the maternal instinct.

When I saw him, his eyes were covered by felt “sunglasses” to protect his eyes from the phototherapy lights. His face was bruised from his quick delivery and his skin was red. He looked just like any other baby, except a bit smaller.

I thought about this a lot during those days I spent curled up in a chair with him in my arms amongst the steadily beeping monitors in the dim lights of the NICU. I was reminded of those stories you hear about babies being switched at birth. I looked at this tiny person, and I didn’t recognize him. He didn’t look like his dad or me – he just looked like a helpless little baby.

As T started to grow, I noticed he looks a lot like my older brother. But he also looks like himself. I recognize him from the baby I held those five long years ago.

But if he had been separated from me for an extended amount after birth, would I still recognize him as my own? Would he recognize me immediately, as Ashley Judd’s son did in Double Jeopardy?

If someone from the hospital were to call and tell me that my child had, in fact, been switched with someone else’s baby at birth, I wonder how surprised I would be.

I believe you can find similarities in people when you are looking for them. My aunt and my mother are routinely mistaken for sisters, when the fact is that they were married to brothers. My aunt adopted her daughters, but people still tell them how much they look like their mother.

I look at T, and I know he’s the baby I brought home from the hospital, because I have been around to watch him grow. If that hadn’t been the case, I don’t feel like I would still know him as mine.

The things in him that remind me of me are all behavioral. Which goes along with the nature vs. nurture argument. Is his impatience a learned behavior from his mother, or was he born that way? I’m pretty sure he learned his I-don’t-like-to-have-my-hands-dirty thing from me, but what about his intellect? Was that because I refused to speak in baby talk when he was young, or is he biologically programmed to speak well and demand it from others (yes, he corrects his friends who say ‘frew’ instead of ‘threw’)?

When I was younger, I used to think I looked nothing like either of my parents. I wrote stories as if I had actually been adopted, or switched in the hospital with another baby shortly after my birth.

Now, I am at an age where I look in the mirror and it’s suddenly very clear that I am my mother’s daughter. It’s obvious that I’m not finding the similarities because I’m looking for them. They’re really there.

Maybe that’s what it will be like when T gets older. Maybe he’s still too young for me to see my features in him. Or maybe he’ll just always look like my older brother. Or maybe he’ll get older and look more like his father.

Looks aside, I still feel that maybe there is a small part of the maternal instinct missing from me. If T had been taken from me at birth and returned on his 18th birthday, would I know him immediately – as Rapunzel’s mother did?

I guess I can’t really know until I see what he looks like when he’s 18.

What are your thoughts? Do you look like your parents? Do your kids (if you have some) look like you? Are you as weird as me and get emotional over Disney movies? Have I asked enough questions? Do you like hot chocolate?

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6 comments on “Thoughts while watching Tangled”

  1. Kristi

    I feel the same way: the weepiness I feel for Tangled ( love that movie) , will the kids grow up to look more like me, and yes, I’m a huge fan of hot chocolate.
    With what you’ve been through with T, I hope you don’t want to rush him growing up to 18. Besides, you hope what’s inside of him reflects who you are: smart, generous and full of emotion for Disney movies 🙂

    • Roxanne

      I definitely don’t want to rush him to grow up, but I can’t help but be so curious what he’ll be like as he gets older.

  2. Krista

    I watched Tangled with my daughter this weekend, too. It was the first time she’s sat, by herself, to watch an entire movie aside from Nemo. I cried at the end, too, so you are not alone. I cried in the beginning, when the baby was taken from the king and queen. I almost shut the thing off, but didn’t because I just HAD to know that the little girl gets back home to her parents, ya know. Sooooo….I got sucked in, basically.

    As a child, I use to wonder if I was adopted. Even though there were pictures of my mother super pregnant with me. Even though there were pictures of her in the hospital about to deliver me. I thought it could have been a really big hoax to convince me I wasn’t adopted. I look EXACTLY like my father. As do my sisters. We have the same nose, the same mouth, the same eyes, the same ears. There is no denying our relation our who our father is. I think I wondered about these things as a child because sometimes life really sucked and I was looking for an easy escape from my reality. If I could just start everything all over again with a brand new family because I was actually adopted, life would be easier some how.

    When my daughter was born, everyone immediately proclaimed “oh she has so and so’s eyes!” or “so and so’s nose!” ect. I couldn’t see it. I had a home birth and immediately got to hold her and she never left my sight and yet I still felt at times that she couldn’t possibly be mine while still feeling like I’d do anything in the world to protect her.

    In movies, timelines get a little fuzzy. I think in Tangled, Rapunzel wasn’t stolen right away. She may have been a few months or so, so her mom got to know her a little.

    But I have wondered since watching it how did the guards verify that Rapunzel was really the long lost princess? It’s not like they had DNA tests, right?

  3. Brianna

    I do like my mother. I do get emotional when watching Disney movies. I also get emotional during Hallmark movies. I like hot chocolate, but I like coffee more.

  4. evafannon

    Ha – and here I thought I was the only one that thought about weird things like being switched at birth!

    To answer your questions….
    – I do look like my parents. More like my mom, but I have physical traits from my dad.
    – People say my oldest is a “mini-me” and I think my youngest is a mini-my husband.
    – Definitely get emotional over Disney movies (I cried at the beginning of Finding Nemo).
    – Who doesn’t like hot chocolate?!? But like Brianna, I like coffee more 🙂

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