As a consumer of movies and books I have always found characters and situations to connect to within them. I try to never decide that I am the main character and so misunderstood, tormented, that funny, that pretty, etc. What I mostly connect to are the situations and the way the characters react to them.
In the past I have always found myself connecting to the kid in the story. The young person dealing with friends and parents and self-discovery. It was always quite natural. However, motherhood has changed that. I don't feel particularly older or any such thing. I simply find myself connecting with the parent in the story or the mentor. It is a startling revelation.
I have always found it hard to imagine myself as a real adult. Even though I have been married for six years, gotten a masters degree, have held down multiple real jobs, own a home and am looking to buy another, have car payments and budget management, etc I still haven't felt particularly adult-like. But now, with my little man, I find myself connecting with the adult characters in stories in a way I never did before. I don't know that I feel fully adult yet, but I am definitely moving in that direction.
I have been watching and reading stories with parent-focused story lines these past few weeks such as Gilmore Girls, Parenthood, Waitress, etc. I find myself studying the parents and their situations now in a way I never did before. It was an unconscious shift at first and it took me a while to figure out what was happening. It was subtle.
I watched Gilmore Girls when it first aired while I was in high school. I naturally associated myself with Rory and her high school struggles upon my first viewing. I continued that connection whenever I rewatched episodes whether it was in college or after. But then, BAM, I now find myself studying Lorelei and her mom and how they treat their child and the relationships they build. I am especially effected whenever they make sacrifices for their child or set back and watch helplessly as Rory goes through her first heartbreak or struggles with peers. These are the things that mesmerize me now. At first, I could never understand parents and how they would rather save up to buy their ungrateful kid a car instead of using the money for something they want. I now understand this idea and the desire to thoughtlessly do for your child.
I suppose it is sad to admit all this and how uninterested I was about the plight of my unborn, unthought of child, but there it is. I am actually completely amazed by this unconscious shift in my thoughts and cares but also completely over-joyed that this transition took place. I really didn't think it would happen for me which was one reason I never wanted to have children. But nature and biology are awesome and the shift happened. I feel it is very akin to the birth scene in Waitress, how all her surroundings blur to meaninglessness and her main focus becomes the helpless, lovely smelling creature in her arms.