Four and a half years ago, JR and I were new parents. We spent a lot of time tired, as well as at home. I spent the majority of my time sitting in my chair in our living room, nursing Gabriel. Aside from my days as a ten-year old in grade school, when I would read a book every day or two, I did some of the most reading of my life during that period. I also watched a lot of television: Gillmore Girls, Scrubs, and probably some other series that I no longer remember. There was also a new series that JR began watching: Chuck.
Chuck seemed an unlikely match for my tastes. A spy show full of violence and immorality? An unlikely match indeed, for a theologian. As it turned out; however, sometimes overall plots, themes, cultural references, and characters make a television series. Sometimes inadvertently, someone finds that an unlikely television series is important to them. Chuck himself was a pretty lovable character and easy to relate to. He was about the same age as JR and I, and, like so many other people, he was underemployed, working in tech support as a member of the Nerd Herd and living with his older sister; he was stuck in a rut and unsure of what to do with his life. He was just a nice guy, who happened to end up with The Intersect and began working with the CIA through an unlikely set of circumstances that he had no real control over. Of course, the characters in Chuck have developed over the years. In these last two seasons, the progression of Chuck seems to be aimed at the “normal” place that Chuck desired since the beginning: working in a technical career with a wife and child(ren). While most of us are not spies, few arrive at their “happy ending” without overcoming obstacles along the way.
Earlier this evening, JR and I watched the Chuck series finale. I followed along on Twitter and GetGlue to see others’ responses. Chuck has a very loyal following, it trended worldwide under three different hashtags on Twitter, and was in the top position on GetGlue.
Although I have known this day was coming since last spring, it’s still been a bit of an emotional season for me. Not so much because I am a super emotional person who gets really wrapped up in “her shows” (I’m not), but because, the beginning and ending of Chuck happens to coincide with a season in my life. I vividly remember nursing both of my sons as newborns through two seasons of Chuck. Those same children are now four and two years old. Lately, we have even been catching glimpses of the light at the end of the Tunnel of Parenthood. Five seasons of Chuck, and (almost) five years of parenthood. JR and I came to really look forward to watching Chuck together during this time. Though there are rumors of a Chuck movie, the constant that has come in the form of ninety-one episodes over the past five seasons is gone.
Not so different from Chuck and Sarah in the series finale, our path is a little uncertain, but new adventures await us. It’s exciting and intimidating at the same time. While parenting babies and toddlers is a lot of work, we (mostly) know what we are doing now, and the complexities of parenting older children is uncharted territory in our lives. I have no doubt that it will be a wonderful time in our lives, yet it’s still a new-to-us adventure when compared to these past years.
While it is possible that I’ve taken some very generous liberties by comparing an end of an era in my life to the end of a television series, the fact remains that my mind associates it as such. Chuck has been a relatively small and insignificant part of my life these past years, yet plays a prominent role in my memories of them. As my memories and associations of the time that we have spent in the tunnel of parenthood will remain, I suspect that Chuck will remain in my memory bank as well, evidenced by my inability to enter a Best Buy store without referencing Chuck, the Buy More, or the Nerd Herd. If, one day in the future, most likely when I’m nursing a newborn, I mention that I am re-watching Chuck, you’ll know why. For me, Chuck will forever be associated with these early years of motherhood.