A Parenting Lesson from All Dogs Go to Heaven

August 1, 2012

I recently introduced the idea of letting my daughter watch a movie on the iPad during the daily 30-minute commute to work and child care (no judgment, please). In a desperate—and cheap—attempt to find something entertaining for her, I downloaded the slightly dated movie All Dogs Go to Heaven.

And before I got motivated to download more movies, I listened to this over and over and over for two weeks straight. However, during my date night with my husband last night I couldn’t help but reference a line from the movie: “you can never go back…”

Any of you that have seen the movie, not many I’m sure, know that Charlie the dog goes to heaven and then finds a way to go back to earth. The pink poodle angel dog says multiple times to Charlie that once he goes back to earth, he can never go back to heaven.

Now my connection with this line is far from religious. My in-laws are keeping my daughter for three days due to some scheduling conflicts and my husband and I have suddenly been transported into our life before a child. We aren’t in a hurry. The house is quiet and clean. We stayed up late…not having to whisper or hide in the basement. We went out to dinner and the only cost to us was the price of the meal. Oh, and we slept…straight through the night.

While this all sounds glorious, life isn’t the same. My mind is always wandering back to my daughter, checking in on her, missing the sound of her voice and feeling her little hand in mine. And the guilt! The ugly “G monster” raises its head yet again and I feel bad for even being away from her. The point is, we can never go back to the people we were before children—no matter how many pre-child activities we partake in. The more I accept that and enjoy the person I am today, the more I don’t miss that pre-mommy person.

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