Feeling the Force Through Motherhood

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When you become a parent, your whole life changes.

I know — that’s the understatement of the century, right? But I’m constantly surprised at how becoming a mother changed my filter of the world around me, and especially changed the way I view media now.

For example, as a relatively new mom, (my daughter is three and a half years old), I now see the Star Wars trilogies in a completely different light, and wonder about things I never ever considered in a million previous viewings.

To wit: at the end of Revenge of the Sith, when Obi-Wan hands Beru the baby boy, instead of feeling my heart swell at the sight of the two suns setting on Tatooine, I found myself utterly distracted. I couldn’t stop my inner voice from whispering to me: Why is Beru so beatific and smiling? Surely she knows that someone might come looking for that particular baby? Someone unsavory? I mean, come on — they aren’t exactly the most obscure choice in a list of “People With Whom We Can Hide This Baby.”

I mean, had things been different, and her husband not embraced the dark side, one can picture Padme and Anakin sitting down with their estate lawyer and putting Owen and Beru as one of the back-up trustees of their estate. (Somewhere after the Naberrie family, I imagine.) So wouldn’t they be on a list of “People We Should Check With First To See If The Babies Are Hidden There?”

Maybe Beru and Owen are like Bail and Breha Organa? Have they also been struggling with having a child of their own? I look at pretty Beru and wonder what she’s been through, that the idea of hiding this baby will be worth the joy he will bring into the house — even when weighed against any Imperial interference they might be subjected to in the future. Also — those two look super young — do they actually have the slightest understanding about what they’re taking on? Oh, sure, Luke’s a newborn now, but time slips through your hand like sand, and before you know it, they’ll have to baby-proof that hut. And the sunblock bills are going to be astronomical.

Speaking of Mr. and Mrs. Organa — Bail straight up tells Yoda and Obi-Wan, “My wife and I will take the girl. We’ve always talked of adopting a baby girl.”

That’s a super specific decision they’ve made there. Why do they want a girl? In my head, I like to imagine them at a relative’s house, or maybe a close friend. It’s a holiday on Alderaan and they’re celebrating at a gathering. On the floor is a little girl. She is playing quietly with her blocks, when suddenly, a boy around the same age wanders in. He knocks over what she’s built, grabs one of the blocks, throws it up in the air and it lands on the little girl’s head. Then he runs into the kitchen and turns on all the burners for the stove. Bail and Breha exchange a married glance. They’re thinking of the conversations they’ve been having about adopting children. Hmm… A girl is probably less likely to destroy our house.

And Shmi. Oh, Shmi. Poor dear. I picture the other moms in her playgroup gossiping about her. “Ever since this Qui-Gon Whosit showed up she’s been on about midi-chlorians and how many midi-chlorians Anakin has. School applications don’t have questions about midi-chlorians last I checked, so I wish she would just shut up. Well, at least she’s stopped talking about how the boy has no father…”

I can’t stop myself. Scene after scene. Everyone has a mom. Admiral Akbar has a mom. Grand Moff Tarkin has a mom. Every single Stormtrooper working for the Empire has a mom somewhere on some home planet with a picture proudly displayed in the house. “That’s my son — standing with an honest to god Sith Lord! You know, there’s only two in the whole galaxy, I’m told.”

Or maybe there’s no photographic evidence at all. Maybe they haven’t spoken in ages. “He’s got himself all mixed up in Imperial politics and is impossible to talk to now. When he used to call home, conversations were already stilted and grew more and more so. Even when we stuck to safe topics like the weather — mention how cold it is lately, and suddenly he’s spitting angry about some place called Hoth.”

Of course I’m being totally silly here, but in reality, becoming a mother has enriched my Star Wars experience in so many ways. There’s a new dimension to the end of Revenge of the Sith that I never experienced before I had a baby. A wrenching feeling in my gut and a stone in my throat as I watch Padme use the last of her strength to name her children.

And even with the prospect of the upcoming films on the horizon, I find a new depth and sadness that I never felt before. Thirty years have gone by. How did Princess Leia feel emotionally once she had children of her own, what with her own mother being long dead? When Leia was struggling with getting the twins down for naps, or navigating the pros and cons of breastfeeding, or feeling overwhelmed with the kind of unconditional love children can elicit? Surely she must have thought of her adopted mother and longed to be able to talk to her just once more.

My daughter will soon be old enough to watch Star Wars.  Now that I’ve had the experience of viewing the films through my new “mother” filter, I can’t wait to experience them all over again through her eyes and see what new feelings I uncover.

Kristen Rutherford is the head writer/creative producer for The Nerdist Show on BBC America and content editor of geekmom.com. You can follow her on twitter @kristensays, look at her pins on Pinterest, or visit the ruins of her neglected website at kristenrutherford.com. When her daughter Vivienne was one and a half, she pointed to a picture of Princess Leia and said, “Mommy,” so she is hereby declaring herself the winner of momming. She loves baking cakes, Hayao Miyazaki films, building fairy houses and hates talking about herself in the third person.

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