Tonight at 6:00 my childhood will officially be over. It's been 43 years in the making. You see, I was born in 1976, a bicentennial baby. And about nine months after I was born, something happened that would change the world, and my life, forever. George Lucas released a movie called Star Wars - A New Hope.
I really didn't realize anything had happened until I was about 6 years old and actually became aware I was alive . . . This was approximately May 25, 1983. That was the day that I went to see my first Star Wars movie, Return of the Jedi. From that day forward I have been obsessed (healthily obsessed) with all things Star Wars. As long as I can remember Star Wars has been a part of my life. Whether it was in the front of my mind or not.
Darth Vader vs. Luke Skywalker (Empire Strikes Back)
I can remember vividly playing Star Wars with my cousins Billy and Tim every time I would go to their house or they would come to mine. I would be Han Solo, Billy would be Luke Skywalker, and Tim, since he was the youngest, was Darth Vader. Usually my sister Elizabeth or my cousin Claire played the part of Princess Leia.
I had the action figures, the posters, everything. I always thought Star Wars was great, but it did slip my mind some during my college years. That is until 1999, when George Lucas brought Star Wars back. I got three new movies and I was on fire again! I can still vividly remember sitting in my dorm room at Wofford College on "dial-up " internet, waiting two hours for the new Star Wars Phantom Menace trailer to download. (By the way, The Phantom Menace has the greatest light saber battle of all time, just try to change my mind).
Toys from the 1980's
So, what does that have to do with today? Well, the Star Wars movies are about the Skywalker family. Luke, Leia, Anakin (also known as Darth Vader), and possibly Rey. Parts 4-6 came out in the 80s. Parts 1-3 came out in the early 2000's and the final three parts have come out over the last 5 years. The final Chapter, Chapter 9, comes out tonight! I've been waiting forever to see how this story ends. And tonight, with my kids, I get to find out!
I cannot wait. At the risk of embarrassing my kids I'm going to let it all go. I'm going to laugh, cheer, and hopefully cry. I don't just want to cry either. I want to sob uncontrollably. Like a baby. Cry a Jabba The Hut sized bucket of tears. I want to have an emotional meltdown, just for a couple of hours. Hopefully I don't freak out my kids.
You see, my wife and kids, and other people laugh and poke fun at me for my little obsession. Yep, I know Star Wars is not real. I know there really aren't such things as laser swords and Wookies. But I have made a mental agreement with Luke Skywalker, Kylo Ren, Yoda, Han Solo, and others, that just for a couple of hours when I watch these movies, I'll believe they are real. That it really is in a far away galaxy a long time ago.
I guess Star Wars is kind of my Santa Claus. I know Santa Claus isn't really real, the same way I know Star Wars isn't real. But, the same way Santa Claus makes kids feel magical and excited once a year is the same way I feel when I watch Star Wars. I know, kind of weird. But I'm not ashamed. I'm just ready for tonight. Forty-Three years in the making, and it all comes to a conclusion tonight. I can't wait. Please ask me about it when you see me next time. I'd love to talk about it!
May The Force Be With You, Always,