Like most children of the 80s and 90s I loved the show The Wonder Years. (And no I didn’t typo the title, keep reading!) It was a wholesome yet realistic look at an American family that took place in the late 60s/early 70s. They covered real events that happened before I was born. I loved learning about them. And the star, Kevin (Fred Savage) wasn’t difficult to look at either!
The entire family was hilarious. I think most people grow up with a brother like Wayne. I know I did! And with quirky teachers and the sweet girl next door, there was something for everyone. I especially loved the father, Jack. Not having a father I looked to strong male roles on television and movies to be my father figures. Jack was gruff and cranky, but had a softer side that always made me smile.
The Wonder Years was perfect….except for just one thing. THE ENDING! I despised the ending! The entire show was ruined for me with just 4 simple words: when dad passed away. Yeah….they killed off Jack! What?! I was floored! Now you have to know, watching my own father die right in front of me only 5 years earlier made the thought of Jack dying almost unbearable. I was crushed for weeks over it. (I was 13 when it ended, so keep in mind I was also an emotional teenager!) I felt betrayed by the show, the network, even the actor
Eventually I moved on and forgot all about my heartbreak. But thanks to the magical world of streaming services and the ridiculous amount of time granted to all of us thanks to quarantine, The Wonder Years and I met once again. But this time I had my 11 year old son watching with me. I LOVED sharing it with him. It made my heart happy! At first I kept thinking to myself “Do 12 year old boys really think like this?!” But my thoughts quickly turned to the ending of the show, and I started preparing to help him through the same heartbreak. When the day came, I couldn’t do it. I tried to shield him from the pain of losing fictional characters that affected my life. I tried!
What I forgot is that he lives a very different life than I did at that age. He is blessed to be in a home with both parents. The first death he ever experienced was when my Grandmother passed last year. Before that he hadn’t experienced it. By the time I was his age I had lost so many people. I was desperately terrified of losing someone else. So even though I was annoyed at first that he found a situation I found so sad to be comical, I guess I was grateful too. 🤷🏻♀️