40 Years, 40 Disney Movies: Counting Down to Daddy’s Birthday Night 23 – Finding Nemo!

Just keep swimming.




Yerp, it’s time for another installment of DADDY’S YESSSS DISNEY NIGHTs. And I am sure, based off the intro to this post, you can guess what movie we are going to be looking at tonight. That’s right. The classic tale of the sea – JAWS!

I think we’re gunna need a bigger blog. LULZ.

Ha, ok…nah. We did Finding Nemo this time, dummy.

Oh, I found him.

Like I said, we are really trying to churn these out quickly as this movie is #25 on the list, leaving 15 movies to go in like 10 weeks. The heat is on. On the street. Inside your head. On every beat.


And for this night, it was just us and Daisy. Oh and Kevin and Bob. Our fish. Obvs. I think Stephanie actually had plans. On a Saturday. I know…crazytown.

kids at table
Looking at this picture, I have just come to realize I put the fish sticks RIGHT NEXT to Bob and Kevin. This meal must have been torturous for them.

The food

So the food for Finding Nemo night always makes me a little uncomfortable. We erm…


We uh had….

Fish sticks.

Yup. Pretty messed up. And delicious.

Yeah, we found Nemo alright. In the frozen food section.

I know….but we really like fish sticks. And I mean, circle of life and all that. We also had some fries and stuffed Quahogs. On the side, we also had like 4 varieties of Goldfish crackers. This included the S’mores variety. Which is bomb.

And for dessert, we had some type of Swedish Fish pudding pie. I think that’s supposed to look like water….Maybe they were swimming in the Malden River.

pudding pie
Hm…fish look belly up. It IS the Malden River.

The activity

OK, so what we really wanted to play was “Find Nemo” in which we hide a Nemo stuffed animal and through the whole “getting hot” and “getting cold” type of thing, we find the hidden clown fish. Unfortunately, we COULD NOT find the Nemo stuffed animal (I know…very meta.) So instead we found this guy:


Yeah, so Finding Sheldon is what we ended up playing. We each took turns and found him while the others directed us.

myles prize
Myles, don’t squeeze so tight. Yeesh.

Myles of course hid it somewhere Owen couldn’t reach. So he needed some assistance:

owen prize
Owen found Sheldon. AND the Jameson.

Also….we did originally plan on playing Go Fish but the kids reminded us that we already did that for The Little Mermaid. They’re such sticklers. When it comes to Disney nights at least. Their sticklerism really doesn’t go beyond that.

The movie

People have asked me before how I can watch the same movie over and over. Some people are fine seeing a movie, even a great movie, once and moving on. But I think how one interprets and feels a movie can be shaped by one’s own personal experiences and where they are in life.

going to be good
Don’t get your hopes up, Dory.

When I first saw Finding Nemo, I was a little under a year from actually being a parent. And on that first viewing, I definitely watched it with a different eye than I do now. I always loved it, but the first time I saw it was a few months after my father passed away. And to me, it gave me something I needed then. I saw the movie as a movie focused on the unwavering love between a father and son. I watched how Marlin did so much to reunite with his son and how Nemo came to realize how truly great and heroic a great father can be.

And of course, that’s all still there. The love Marlin has for Nemo and the way he will do anything to keep him safe is pretty much what drives the entire narrative. But now, 12 years into a being a parent, the movie means so much more to me. To me, now, it also speaks to the struggle of letting your kids grow up. When your children are little, you are their world. Their entire universe starts and ends with you as a parent. And this is comforting not only to the child, but to the parent as well. As long as they are with you, they are safe.

daddys got you
I just….can’t.

But as children grow, their universe expands and parents have to make a choice. They can either fight it or figure out a way to grow with their child. Letting a child “go” and explore on their own is an important part of them not only becoming accustomed to the world around them, but also becoming the people they are. Becoming not only your child but also a person in their own right. Unshielded experience, no matter how tough for a parent to give, is an important part of growing up. And as a parent of one boy that is going to be twelve in a month and another well into his eighth year, I can tell you – it’s a hard thing to be ok with. But, as Dory says “you can’t never let anything happen to him. Then nothing would ever happen to him.”

And the harder we fight this phenomenon, the worse it really ends up for everyone involved. Nemo says “I hate you” and travels into dangerous waters as a way of rebelling against his overprotective father. In this world today, there is a lot to protect our children from. There is so much bad in the world that as a parent, you often feel all at once overwhelmed, confused and compelled to keep them behind closed doors. But just as there is a lot of bad in the world, there is also a lot of good. And keeping that door closed keeps all life out. Trusting our children to grow up can be scary. But we all have to transition from “you think you can do these things, but you can’t” to “I know you can” at some point.

But it’s not all letting go, right? Even though Nemo thinks he might be better off out on his own, once he is taken, all he wants is his Dad. Letting go is important, but being there is equally as important. Because no matter how big they get, our kids will always be our kids. Even though we may have to “let go,” it’s all for show. Even if I have to let the boys explore the world and experience things without me, I know I will never let go.

It’s amazing to me that a movie about a tiny little fish can echo so much of the human experience. It’s amazing to me, but not surprising. As I hope I have made clear in many of the posts up until now, Disney has a way of doing that. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a little salt water in my eye.

me and boys 2
Yeah…seriously never letting go.

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