Thursday, January 12, 2012

Liam Neeson (Almost) Scared Me Out Of Motherhood

Not all birth control is created equal.  Whether a pill or a flight with a screaming infant, both options are relatively expensive, and risk dangerous side effects.  Disagree?  Clearly you haven’t flown with my children.

Here’s a cheap and entertaining option.  Watch the 2008 thriller Taken, starring Liam Neeson. 

In the film, Neeson, Webster’s top synonym for badass, reluctantly allows his 17 year old daughter to travel with a friend to Paris, where she is kidnapped and intended to be sold into prostitution.  The story hit close to home.  Here’s why.

I spent the summer after my collegiate sophomore year living in London.  I shared a flat with 20 other American students, all there to complete internships in various fields.  I spent four days a week working on a news desk and the remaining 72 hours rushing to obtain photographic proof that I’d visited Europe’s biggest landmarks, all while simultaneously drinking as much as humanly possible.

I remember one Parisian piano bar vividly.  My American friend and I enjoyed a bottle of wine, mapped our tourist plan of attack and could totally tell that the nerds in the nearby booth were checking us out.  When our second bottle arrived as a gift from them, we were hardly surprised.

We thanked them, and intended to move quickly on, until they made the offer only a stupid, drunk, naïve, broke college student would accept.  Tomorrow they’d be heading home to Belgium.  Would we like to take the drive and have a guided tour of Brussels?

Fast forward several hours of fear, regret and prayer later, we were in the back seat of their car, wishing we could decipher their French and foil their plan to (insert gruesome murder plot here).  Creepy details aside, once in Brussels, we successfully bailed on our “tour guides”, and grabbed the first train back to Paris.  The ride home was silent.  A week later, we laughed about it.  A decade later, I am lucky to have survived it.

In my 20’s, I looked at that European summer as a life-altering rite of passage.  Now in my (gulp) mid-30’s, I’ve learned that it is our reflection back upon these moments that are even more life changing than the experiences themselves.  Still, so many questions remain.

Would my parents have let me leave for Europe if they had seen this film?  Will I offer my children the same freedoms given to me, and how they will behave if I do- or don’t?  I wonder how often people decide not to become parents out of fear for what could go wrong.  When does risk outweigh reward?

I am lucky to have had two daughters prior to seeing Taken.  So far, the reward outweighs the risk.  But plan ahead.  Taken 2 hits theatres in 2012.