Parenting is not easy. Of course, I am not a parent myself. But yet, I know from watching my own mother and father, and all the great parents in my life, that parenting is the farthest thing from easy. Having a child is a very rewarding and beautiful experience, but caring for that child and worrying for that child can be extremely stressful.
For the past four years, I have worked at a camp with special needs children and adults. As a camp counselor, I have learned first hand just how hard it is to watch and care for multiple children. I have to be alert constantly, and be aware of who likes to run away, where they like to go, and if they’ll be able to find their way back to me or if I have to search for them.
When I watched "Finding Dory" for the first time, I had no idea why I felt so strongly for Dory’s parents. They were so worried about her, and her future, and her ability to remain with them. When I re-watched the movie, I understood why I had such an attachment to those parents. They are the parents of a special needs child. Dory has a problem with her short-term memory, making it hard for her to remember her home, her parents, and what she was doing. This is something that worries her parents greatly.
Dory loses her family, and becomes lost, which is her mother’s biggest fear. In a flashback, Dory remembers her mother crying when thinking of Dory’s future and if she will be able to remember her parents in time. Isn’t losing their child every parents fear? But, for parents of a child with special needs, it is a fear that is heightened because sometimes, their tendency to wander away or forget where they are going is greater, just as in Dory’s case. And, just like those parents, Dory’s parents are uncertain about Dory’s future and only want what is best for her. Just like all parents everywhere, they yearn to give their child the world.
"Finding Dory" is a film everyone should see, especially parents. It puts into perspective what it is like to have to deal with fearing for you child’s safety. Pixar achieved greatness in their realistic perspective of parents with a special needs child and broke each of our hearts when their biggest fear came true. The movie is sure to be an emotional roller coaster, but it is one that is rewarding when you watch Dory journey back home. Dory’s reunion with her past is beautiful, and has a unique storyline, as it tackles some heavy emotions and topics. "Finding Dory" is something that I find to accurately depict parents of children with special needs, and show just how amazingly strong they are.