How The Movie “Boyhood” Is My World And Possibly Yours Too

If you haven’t seen the movie, Boyhood, jump off the couch, grab the car keys or head to your local bus station and go. Now. This is a movie you don’t want to miss. Trust me. It is possibly the best movie I have ever seen and yes, the most realistic one as well. You may see your own life pass before your eyes, especially if you are a mom and have kids. It is everything you have felt, understated. No, it isn’t a tear-jerker, a comedy or a romance. It’s pure genius.

 

It is sad just because it has been a week since I have seen the movie and I am still thinking about it and relating it to my life. It’s a film about growing up so I cried because my children are not children anymore. They are both adults, wonderful adults, yet my daughter left her pink doll at home, the one she used to sleep with but now sleeps in a room at her sorority house and my son it seems, he just graduated high school will be graduating from college in May.

It’s about time passing so quickly that you almost can’t believe it has really happened and yes, I cried because I miss my dad. I had a really great dad, not those horrible step-fathers in the movie. My dad, died twelve years ago and my memories are fading and sometimes I can’t even remember what his voice sounds like anymore yet the pain, once in a while, seems brand new and raw.

Grieving is a long and hard process and just when you think you are past the worst of it,   out of no where, it knocks you out again at unexpected times. Times you can’t prepare yourself for, just like the ocean washing out sand castles at the beach that the sweet children built so lovingly. It attacks you from behind, it blindsides you.

I am the mother in the film, (though luckily I have a great husband)  but it scares me to see her alone. Her kids go off to college and she is left, not knowing what on earth she is going to do with her life. I am not glorifying her role as a mother, believe me, she makes incredibly poor choices but in the end, her children have left her and she sits in the kitchen, crying and alone.

Her son, her boy, whom we have seen grow up, physically and emotionally, heads off to college and while the ending is a little too perfect, we want it to be for him. We want a happy ending for all our children but we also want it for ourselves and that’s not the way real life works.

There is a part of us who wants our kids to miss us, to turn back for a brief second, to be their four-year old selves who “loved us best” just one more time. That is only for us and certainly not what they need or want and its pure fiction not reality. As they dash out the door with a grin and a wave we know that we have done a wonderful job parenting our grown up children.

All we want is for our children to be happy, we love them unconditionally but it does hurt every time they leave us. The movie is so magnificent  because we know that everything in this movie is so darn true. We love our children more than they will ever know, but from their eagerly awaited first step we also know, that at every turn, they are leaving us, as they should.

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Plinky Prompt: When was the ( FIRST) last time you really stood out in a crowd?

  • Horses

    Horses (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn_BE_BACK_IN_SEPTEMBER)

  • When was the last time you really stood out in a crowd? Are you comfortable in that position, or do you wish you could fade into the woodwork? See all answers
  • The Cactus Rock Lodge, AZ.
  • I was one of those painfully shy children with a bold and charismatic mother and my sister who demanded all the attention. But, deep inside me there must have been a spark, a tiny little spark just waiting to be ignited. It’s a story that changed my life forever.
    My family and I were on a vacation to a Dude Ranch in Arizona for the first time. It was NOTHING fancy back then but they called milk “moo juice” and pancakes were “hotcakes” and it was the first time I had ever eaten them, soft and sweet with syrup.  They had a few horses, I remember a white one named “Granny” that I would take care of and eventually ride. Everybody was friendly and homey and like a big ol’ family.
    The owners’ names were Helen and Mac, one night they passed around a microphone to everyone in the room so they could introduce themselves, say their name, age and where they came from.
    Soon enough they came to our table and after my mom, dad and sister introduced themselves, my mother spoke up and said about me “oh no, she’s too shy.” I can feel that moment now as I felt it back then. A split second life changing moment. Should I or shouldn’t I?
    I grabbed the microphone from my mother and marched my six-year-old backside to the center of the room. I remember Mac said something encouraging to me, with admiration. I was a little pip squeak with a very short pixie cut and twinkling blue eyes. I said “I’m Laurie, I’m 6 years old and I’m from New York.”
    Wow, what a response!! Everybody clapped and hooted and hollered and Mac looked as proud as can be and he asked for another round of applause for this “brave young lady.” The look of shock on my mother’s face was worth every second and I’m sure that was half the fun at the very least though I am not sure I was conscious of that at the time. That day changed my life or rather, I changed my life that evening.
    It definitely lay dormant for many years but in the back of my mind, I always knew that deep down was a little girl just waiting to state her independence and to show people she could dazzle; in her own time, when SHE was ready. To this day, never, ever, tell her what she can and cannot do because she is a stubborn woman!

  • UPDATE: FWF
  • Through the years, I realized what my mother and father had always said about me was true. Sure, I was emotional and sensitive and could cry at the drop of a hat, at anything sentimental, old photographs of her children, a crayon drawing she had kept for fifteen years, an old birthday card from her dad. But, deep down, I knew, as my parents had always told me, beyond the emotional exterior, I was very, very strong. Like steel. That has helped me in so many ways I have lost count. My sister who had all the false bravado is no where near as strong as I am in these things, she is strong in other things. But, my parents, as if giving me the greatest gift of all, gave me the knowledge of confidence when I needed it most.

Free Write Friday, Kellie Elmore (Winter to Summer)

Get a Life.

Get a Life. (Photo credit: the.barb)

Nurturing A Dying Plant

Nick and Kailey, 23,  live together in a dark basement apartment, in Cambridge, MA.  They met in graduate school and dated for several years. Now, they both worked from home, in technology. Kailey’s parents refers to them as “moles.” “They act as if they were in hiding, as if they were in the witness protection program,” she complains to her husband.Nick was absolutely happy living this way however, Kailey has her doubts, she missed seeing other people and having parties but she loved Nick and knew this was important to him.

The long, tough winter in Cambridge had made Kailey so weary, so depressed because even though their apartment was in the basement she missed the light that came in through their one window. She missed seeing other people, her old friends but Nick wanted her to himself and she knew that proved how much he loved her. She felt safe and happy and deeply loved.

One day in June when she heard birds chirping outside their window, and sniffed the changing air Kailey started to feel happier. She was excited and couldn’t wait to go outside yet Nick had no interest. Finally after much begging and pleading he did go with her but he didn’t seem pleased. They walked up the four steps to the outside where their eyes blinked and they used their hands to shade them from the brightness. Kailey squealed with delight and Nick just wanted to go back inside where he felt most comfortable among his computers.

Once outside, tree buds pink with anticipation were blooming, grass was sturdy and deep green, standing upright saluting the sun, people were no longer wearing their puffy down jackets. Instead they were wearing their Harvard sweatshirts, rowing on the Charles River in perfect synchronicity. Kailey looked around at the life around her, people smiling, holding cups of iced coffee in their hands, throwing frisbees across the greens and laughing with pleasure. Kailey smiled openlyas soon as she was outside, her cheeks getting pink, exposed to fresh air and the sun. She was laughing out loud at all the activity and after a while a group of kids playing frisbee asked Kailey and Nick if they wanted to join  their game. Kailey joined their game begging Nick to join but, as usual, he refused adamantly.

“Kailey, he shouted a short time later, it’s time to go home” and for the first time, in a long time, she didn’t follow him immediately. Her new friends begged her to stay awhile longer and she did. “I’ll be back later” she told Nick and turned back to her new friends, laughing, breathless and happy. She had been with Nick for a very long time. She didn’t see them getting married soon, there was something missing and she had always known that. Nick loved living in the dark world, it was there he felt most comfortable but Kailey didn’t. Once she saw the sunshine, her senses became alive, she couldn’t imagine going back to the place she had lived with Nick.  She sat herself down on the grass and started thinking about her life. Did she really still love Nick or was Nick her safety net? Was she happy living the same life that Nick lived? No, she knew that.  She felt like an old, thirsty plant that was dying, needing water and sunlight, nurturing.

It was time, she thought, time to tell Nick something she had known for a long time but had been too scared to think about much less mention it. Their relationship was more of convenience than anything else. Nick was comfortable in his own world of technology, alone with his computers, not needing people or nature around him. Kailey was different, playing frisbee wtih new friends in the sunlight, laughing and having fun had exposed her to a world that she used to live in, a world where things were light, sunny, happier and free. She sat alone for quite some time, thinking, reluctant to get up. Finally, she headed back to the house, up the hill, her head down. Her world had changed, now she needed to tell Nick that she was not complete just living in the dark. She wanted more, more for herself, more fun in her life, more brightness. She was going to try to say goodbye to darkness, and head slowly to the light.

Free Write Friday, Kellie Elmore

House cat with a ball of yarn.

House cat with a ball of yarn. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The air was thick with humidity, Emily hadn’t seen the sun in five straight days. To say she was going “stir-crazy” was the understatement of a lifetime. It was hard to breathe, harder to move. She was home with her teenage children, her husband worked long hours and while he used to call her nine times a day just to say hello, he had stopped calling altogether. She had signed up for a clay class but she just heard that it had been cancelled. Her volunteer work at the hospital had ended three weeks ago. She had nothing to do, nowhere to go and she was starting to feel bored, restless and just a little off-center.

She made dinner for the family, most of which was eaten in silence. The cat, Ivy, purred on the sofa, her head resting on a ball of blue yarn. Emily let out an audible sigh of envy, at least the cat was happy, she thought, at least someone was, she certainly wasn’t. What was it about this summer that seemed so different? She felt so closed in, none of her friends were around and there was nothing to do, no one to talk to. She wasn’t brave enough to fly someplace alone and even if she was, they couldn’t afford it but she knew it couldn’t go on like this, she needed to do something, soon.

She thought about it that week and slowly she came up with an idea, an idea that made her smile inwardly. She came up with a plan that involved everything she loved, didn’t cost a lot of money, gave her independence and a mini-vacation. She didn’t ask anyone’s permission, why should she? She had waited on her husband and family for years but one night she told them, not asked them, that she was going to be away for a few days, with her old college roommate. They barely even acknowledged what she said, they mumbled “ok” and  her son asked ” Who is going to cook us dinner?” was the only question asked by her son. You’ll figure it out, ” she said calmly, “Dad can give you extra money for pizza.”

The next morning, after everyone had left she packed her car, turned on the music, her music, on loud and headed to meet her old friend in Boston. She knew they were heading to the beach, which beach she wasn’t sure. She would stop at a motel or an Inn, whatever appealed to her on the way. There were no rules, no rules except for her to have fun and to do whatever made her happy. She had packed a few books, she had her radio and she felt peaceful. She was going to pick up Jane and then Jane would take over the driving. Leaving had made her happy, that was something to think about on its own.

They hugged tightly when they saw each other, it had been years since their last reunion. Jane took over the driving while Emily, now wearing her new sunglasses, put her arm and hand out the window in joyous rhythm to the music she loved. She tilted her head back, grinning, laughed happily and sang, loudly off-key.

The show must go on (Carry on Tuesday)

parents

parents (Photo credit: Mystic Lens)

I never said we were an unhappy family, it’s all a matter of perspective. After all, to the people in our homeland, India, we lived “the American dream.” My younger brother and I were born in India, we lived with our parents and grandparents together in one room. We knew no different, the only thing we knew is eventually we were going to “Merica” but we had no idea what that meant. My brother and I just assumed it was a neighborhood nearby.

Now, fourteen years later, we live in New Jersey and own a small white house, with black trim. My mother was afraid, she said, “to be perceived as too gaudy.” We have a front yard that is nicely manicured (my father brags to people back home that we have hired a gardener.)  My mother has the flowers, arranged in red, white and blue rows, perfectly, with soldier-like precision.

Everyone seemed to have acclimated to our new life, except me. I’m seventeen years old, did they think it would be easy for me? As in India we had to continue our very traditional ways in New Jersey. “It is expected of us” my parents would tell me and my little brother, Rakesh to carry on our culture with pride. At the same time my younger brother was getting beaten up in the playground each afternoon.  I refused to call him, his Indian name here, so I made up an American name for him in part to annoy my parents and in part to give the kid a chance at surviving elementary school. My parents were furious but I didn’t care, as soon as Rakesh became “Robby”  life got a little easier for him.

If they wanted obedient and silent children than they should have never left India. My brother and I wanted to stay in India when we were children but of course they never asked us how we felt. We knew we had no choice anyway, we always did what our parents told us to do, there was no options. We were never allowed to talk back to our parents, in fact, we were not able to talk at all until we had been spoken to.  Back home we would not even know the concept of talking back to one’s parent’s or anyone’s elder, it was not done, it did not exist.

We are all playing a role, in our new life here, like actors in a play. By the time we landed here I changed my name to “Annie.” My parents could scream but I did not care, I had to live in this society, so yes, I ignored them. I put up a sweet and demure face, I wore my traditional garb at home and changed into my “real” high school clothes quickly in the girls bathroom when I got to school. I changed into short skirts and tight tops. I pulled my long lack hair into a high pony tail and my friends taught me how to put on make up. I had it down to a science in no time. I only feared my parents coming in unexpectedly but I knew that would never happen.

If I had to stay in this country and honor my parents’ wishes I was going to do it on my terms, that is until I turned 18 and then they would have no control over me. I was counting the days until my 18th birthday. Until that day, and ONLY that day, this façade, this show will go on but after that it would stop, immediately. I had circled my birthday on the black and white calendar with a thick, red marker in boundless abandon, this was my secret. I will play the role of dutiful daughter, I will do whatever they tell me to do until my birthday.  The evening of my 18th birthday, I will slowly and quietly pack my things, while my ultra conservative, parents slept, in their separate beds with their overhead fans and ugly, green and white velvet bedspreads with inlaid crystals.

Having planned this for months the night of my birthday I will sneak down the steps and go out the side door. I will tiptoe quietly down the street where Brian, my boyfriend, will be waiting for me in his car. We are leaving together, we are moving to the Village in New York City, Brian has a friend who has an apartment there. If we don’t like it in New York we will go to Boston, or California, wherever we want to go. I will feel free for the first time in my life.

I have to laugh. They named me Ashmita, meaning rock born, hard and strong. What did they expect?

I’m Older Than That Now

Portrait from India 15

Portrait from India 15 (Photo credit: Zuhair Ahmad)

A new, younger friend, was hesitant to write her feelings down on paper.

Why not? I thought.

And then I remembered and rejoiced in that knowledge.

I’m too old for games, I wrote,
but I can understand why you would be hesitant.
I was like that too, at your age.
I now have the freedom not to care what others think.
Freedom not to even think about what others think, not to hesitate, just say what’s on my mind, politely.
What a luxury, a new luxury  that I had taken for granted. A gift. A heavenly gift.
I never realized it before until the younger one said “I thought about it but I didn’t say anything”
I had forgotten that hesitancy until I was reminded of it.
It’s like inhaling a deep breath, holding it in and effortlessly letting it go,
letting it seep into all the crevices of life, be it ocean or wind, or water.
Drifting aimlessly like a freed red kite among the unencumbered blue sky.
I have earned this.
This is my gift to myself.
I will pride myself on not dyeing my hair, for the few strands that are gray and white,
I will wear them with authenticity.
I will continue to throw back my head with my hair long and laugh.
There really is wisdom, joy and freedom in older age.
Even, especially if you don’t seek it;
it will find you.
Keep your heart open to receiving that gift.

Carry on Tuesday: When all is said and done

Let's Talk About Feelings

Let’s Talk About Feelings (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From Zoe’s Journal:

I need to find forgiveness in my heart. I know that’s the right thing to do; I just don’t know how to do it. How do you forgive people whose bond with you should be so natural, so instinctive? I don’t have the answers but I am trying to find them. I am trying to find them so that we can all live in peace. I think the psychologists call it “individuating;” when you separate from your parents and become your own person; believe me I don’t think my parents would call it the same thing.

I just want to protect myself from the past, I was strong enough now to be my own person and not take any of their old shit. I had figured out the dangerous mind games and I wanted no part of it. I had always been strong inside, my parents knew that about me, they were proud of that, until it seemed like I turned on them. I hadn’t; I just stopped putting up with all the bullshit. They couldn’t handle it. The more they tried to guilt me, the more I pushed back. They would immediately go to the speech where they were “all alone in the world” without their “only daughter.” I would be empathic but I would not cry and apologize and they missed that; they missed the part of me that they could hurt. Wound. Destroy. I don’t think any of it was intentional, well, of course some of it was. After they spewed a nasty string of malevolence they would not remember a word of what they said! How could they not remember what they had just said?  I was labeled “too sensitive.”

It took me a long time to understand the game they played, unwittingly, but I swore I would never fight with them again. Since they couldn’t express any feelings at the time they would hold something against me for weeks. Eventually, one day there would be a vitriolic, icy cold lecture of how I had changed. I would figure it out in time but it left me stunned, still hurt. However, I did not offer myself up as a sacrificial lamb; that was no longer my duty, those days were over.

When all was is said and done, what they really needed was attention, to feel wanted and needed and not dismissed. It was quite simple once I figured it out and I was more than willing to give it to both of them, on my terms. Once I did, they became nicer, happy for the attention and we seemed to get along better.

Sometimes, the things people say are irrelevant, I guess you need to go deeper and see what they are feeling. Not everyone wears their heart on their sleeve like I do. As I have said before, words don’t count, actions do. Since we were talking about forgiveness  there is another very important person I need to forgive.  Me. I need to forgive myself for all the grudges I have held, for all the hurt I have carried, for the blame I have caused and for all the tears I have shed. I was just a child, an abandoned child. I know I will never forget but I need to forgive myself and let go of the pain because true forgiveness really means setting our souls free, the greatest gift you can give yourself. At least that’s what I’ve heard.

Haiku Heights-Wish

IN MEMORY OF THE CHILDREN, FAMILIES AND STAFF OF NEWTOWN, CT.

candles

candles (Photo credit: rogerglenn)

Trembling hands, shooting

Children cowering, crying

I pray for time, peace.

*****************************************************************************************************************************************************

Life, untangling

taut, rope fraying, neon bright

Seen by only one.

*****

I bounce in freedom

Gold coins fall into my hands

Independent me.

*****

Young lovers twisted

shiny, sparkling, delighted

Old age settles in.

Growing Old Together

Growing Old Together (Photo credit: ∞ SaraiRachel ∞)

*****

Sparkling green eyes flirt

my head tossed back with laughter

Looking back in time.

Independence (PFAM Blog Carnival)I

Fireworks #1

Image by Camera Slayer via Flickr

I don’t remember what complete “independence” is anymore. I used to know how it felt, before my illness. I remember quickly dashing through crowded city streets, staying out late, going to the Village after a movie before I headed home via taxi to cross the Brooklyn Bridge. I was young, admittedly, but there was little fear and so much to do.

FIbromyalglia and Chronic Pain took away my spontaneity and instant fun and robbed me of joy. While I can still do many things, I need to wait until the same day to see how I feel. That hurts, not only physically, but emotionally. I can drive my car, if I have enough energy. I can go shopping for food, when I feel I am up to it. Last week my husband and I went to the first movie we have seen outside our home in years. I felt free, we had a bite to eat, and we went to see the new Woody Allen movie and I was happy. It was one day, one joyful day out of many.

I plan on going to my son’s college orientation this summer; I do not want him to be the only student without a parent there but still I worry. How much will I be able to do? Can I get a taxi from the hotel to the campus? Will I be able to walk a few blocks? I know there’s a tour but I will have to sit it out. I am the sick mom.  I will smile sweetly and tell my son to report back every single detail while I sit on some bench, shaking my head back and forth, holding back the tears.

I am not that old but I feel old. Even the new medication I was on to give me energy has failed me. I was happy for a few weeks and I told my chronic pain friends that “Yes, There Was Hope for Fibromyalgia” and now I don’t know anymore. I feel bad for the people who thought I had found relief; I feel more sorry for myself wondering what happened and why this medication failed me, like so many others.

I rely on my husband, I am dependent on him; he knows the look in my eyes when I feel tired and depleted and when I hurt. He supports me, takes my arm. Part of me wants to pull away and say “I’m not a grandmother” yet part of me holds on and appreciates his love and help. My teenagers’ friends have seen me more in my pajamas than not. They have seen me lying in bed, with a book or the computer and even though I shout out a happy and cheerful “hello” I am embarrassed and I feel like I have let my children down.

Thankfully, my mind is still independent, I can think and emote and write and my imagination is not limited by my body. At the same time, I weigh myself down because the joy of spontaneity is lost forever. If I make a plan, even at the last-minute, I always have to think steps ahead, the amount of walking, sitting, standing, driving. If I decide I will push myself to go to the city and do something fun, I worry about if I will find a taxi because my ability to walk is limited. It usually keeps me home.

Independence Day is tomorrow, I would love to see fireworks, they make me so happy. I love the excitement and the blasts of color  and the screaming and the thrill. But, I won’t be going, because there are too many variables that stand in my way. So, on Independence Day, I will not be celebrating with throngs of other people. I  know that I can’t walk miles to see the show, I know that if I had to go to the bathroom there are none in suitable walking distance,  I cannot sit on the hard grass for the hours it takes  for the show and I will miss that dearly. On Independence Day, and many other days, I am dependent.

“Please Come To Boston In The Spring-Time”

My husband and I  are sitting in the huge auditorium at a college in Massachusetts, visiting with our son who is a Junior and our daughter who is a Sophomore in High School. It’s the first college tour for me and I am both in awe and incredulous. Like an ice-cold hand  pressing on a sunburned body. Shock. Excitement. Surreal.  An out-of-body experience and, the new reality that is your life.  The first college tour ever is probably the one you, (more than your son and daughter) will remember, because after all these years, your baby, your first-born is really, truly, thinking about college; and eventually, sooner rather than later, is going.  Gone are the Mommy and Me classes, the grade school performances, the middle school musicals.This is being a Junior in HS,  this is big.

As much as the focus is on the student you will find, as I did, there is a moment of part regression, part longing that whispers into your ear  “Why can’t I go to college  for four years and have fun and study? I sat through talk after talk, part of me knowing now how much fun college was but not appreciating it back then. I listened intently as they spoke about community involvement, special clubs, volunteering. It was all I could do not to raise my hand. But this wasn’t about me, this was about my son.

Watching your baby (and they are all our babies) sitting in the auditorium, intently listening to the Admissions Officer or Student Guide talk is fascinating in itself, regardless of what school you are in. The baby whose hands you clasped just minutes ago, to cross the street, is the one bounding up the stairs  with a bold grin to be on a tour with a student who is also a Volunteer Ambulance Corp and an EMT. That’s a connection, something your child is passionate about; something that at this college exists.

My point is that irregardless of the all too familiar campus spiel  (and after a while they do all sound the same) and how great this and that college is, there may be a pivotal, random moment (and it could be ANYTHING) that will have your son and daughter make his or her mind up in half of one second. You will know it when you see it, your child will absolutely glow. It could be the food in the cafeteria, or a particularly nice day outside or what the girls are wearing on campus. This is what I am here to tell you as we get started in the process. It may not make sense to you, but it will for your child. That one second buzz word (like Volunteer Ambulance Corp and EMT)  could have been the moment his decision was made. It  could be made in a blink of an eye or a particularly sunny day, or the french fries in the cafeteria. What they are looking for and most certainly find, is a spark, a connection, the right buzz word for your child. If you know your kid, you can’t miss it and you won’t. It most certainly doesn’t mean he or she will get in but it will be a moment to remember.  Pay attention to it.

Go, little bird, fly away and be happy. You and I both know I will cry when you leave; saying good-bye is not one of my strong points.  All parents really want, is for you to be happy, be safe and come home to visit even if you bring your dirty laundry. We’ll take what we can before we send you out back again into your new exciting life, away from us, in your new fun-filled, marvelous world.