The original Jurassic Park came out in 1993. I remember seeing it and being scared to death. I’m not one to see big budget action/adventure movies like that, but it was a big deal movie so I went. It was the only one of the trio I saw in the theater. My son was born in 1996 and I watched Jurassic Park 1, 2, and 3 with him at home on VHS tape beginning when he was about 5 years old.
I thought he was too young, but we watched, he held onto me occasionally, but overall was more fascinated than scared. He thought the dinosaurs were everything. He became an instant fan and obsessed with the T-Rex. We bought books, action figures, clothes and posters as his love affair with all things Jurassic began. I was even scared watching it years later on TV, but my son was mesmerized.
When the first one came out I was working at Steven Spielberg’s Shoah Foundation, which was located on the Universal Studios lot. My son waited a long time to meet the height requirements for the park’s Jurassic Park Ride. When he was tall enough he rode it a lot. By a lot of course I mean the operators knew my kid by name. He would ride 10 times in a row. I could manage 3 rounds, then he’d go over and over again by himself, waving as he plummeted down.
My son had seen the Jurassic Park movies countless times, but never on the big screen until Jurassic World. It is a moment in my motherhood I treasure because we saw it together. Now with the arrival of Jurassic World 2, I can tell you we saw it last night and it was great. I jumped a lot, but my son simply sat in wonder. It is a very good movie, Chris Pratt is great in it, and I recommend seeing it. It makes me happy that these movies continue to be something special that is just ours. Ours and a gazillion other people, but you know what I mean.
With so many movie franchises during his lifetime, there were some we went to, and others he went to with his dad, but Jurassic has always been just ours. We have shared these movies together and still talk about watching them when he was little. He still has some of the toys from his childhood, and remembers his dinosaur themed birthday parties. I remember like yesterday when he realized Barney was just a Jurassic Park wannabe.
It feels like just yesterday that I watched Jurassic Park with my son and I can recall with real clarity his expression of wonderment as he never once took his eyes off the screen. I remember buying him Jurassic Park toys for Hanukah and him being so excited he screamed out how much he loved me and jumped up and down saying he could not believe what was happening. I have a real affection for these movies as they have helped define my life as a mother.
My baby boy is 22 years old now, but when I look over at him watching the dinosaurs, I will flash back to him being 5, sitting on the couch, holding my hand, and staring in wonder as if they were real. He may never understand how important seeing these movies is to me, and probably thinks I’m ridiculous for insisting we see them together, but that is okay. My heart will be full, my pulse will be racing, dinosaurs will arrive, time will stand still, and I will be keeping the faith.