Monday, July 10, 2006

George Bailey, I'll love you 'til the day I die.

Can you believe it? Crazy Hip etc. used my prompt for their writing collaboration project:

“What song or movie best tells the story of your life/family?”

Having already written about my love affair with the Tenenbaums, and reluctantly dismissing my first instinct to write of my similarities with the protagonists of "Weekend at Bernie's", I decided I must write about the movie that makes me weep everytime I see it. The movie I was thinking of when I wrote the prompt in the first place. "It's a Wonderful Life".

Like many of you, I had seen this movie every year since I was a child. It was only a few Christmases ago that I realized the frustrations, worries, helplessness and joys flawlessly portrayed by Jimmy and Donna were exactly what I was experiencing as a young mom and wife. While not as altruistic as the Baileys, we waged an ongoing battle with poverty. Blessed with fertility, our colic plagued babies kept on coming. We had our moments, our days, our weeks, when the dead end jobs and constant crying nearly did us in. I could see George's frustration and hopelessness growing in Will. I could see Mary's fear and helplessness in the mirror. I prayed for endurance.

Seeing the movie reminds me of intimate whispers of future travel and adventures, dreams thwarted by babies and bills.

I'm shakin' the dust of this crummy little town off my feet and I'm gonna see the world.

Sleepless nights, debating which bills we would skip out on this month.

You call this a happy family? Why do we have to have all these kids?

Worrying about Will. Wondering how much longer he could last.

[to George] Look at you. You used to be so cocky! You were going to go out and conquer the world!

And then something happened. It wasn't an epiphany moment or divine revelation. It was a series of fortunate events. New jobs, new house, a permanent end to the baby making. We both matured a little and began to see the light at the end of the tunnel. And then, our own Bedford Falls called us to Idaho. See...I told you'd we'd travel. Look at us! Boating and swimming and skiing and biking and hiking. We're adventuring. We made it. We passed our terrifying night of panic and were celebrating Christmas with bells and friends and joy in our lives. And here we are. Still poor, but still in love. Occasionally frustrated, more often grateful. And the dreams of the future are back, too, only now I'm more appreciative of the present.

Remember that night we broke the windows in this old house? This is what I wished for.


Blogger nik said...

Awww, what a great answer to a great question. I have to admit that in the few days it took me to come up with my answer (which was "What A Wonderful World", kinda close to yours, in theory) I used it as a conversation piece with friends. Good thinking, you Crazy Hip Blog Mama, you!


7/11/2006 11:53:00 PM  
Blogger Pendullum said...

My favourite as well...
My husband always thinks that I am his Mary...
It always causes me to cry...
It is a Wonderful World...

7/12/2006 09:29:00 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Such a great question... I have to give it some serious thought... however, I am pretty sure that "Vacation" is in first place!

7/12/2006 04:20:00 PM  
Blogger allrileyedup said...

What a great topic to choose and what a great movie to pick. Did you ever see the episode of Cheers where they all cry at the end of the movie because it's on the bar TV? It's the only way to watch that movie. And I never cry in movies (really, never).
Merry Christmas, Bedford Falls!

7/12/2006 10:27:00 PM  
Blogger Angel said...

What a great way to put that... we are still in the throws of struggle ourselves and it's hard. But I always find the every day blessings life gives us, no matter how much money we don't have. This was a great post.

7/17/2006 08:57:00 AM  
Blogger Shalee said...

Wonderful post... Life really is as good as we choose to see it. It really is a wonderful life if we will but purposely see the good in every thing that comes our way.

7/17/2006 02:32:00 PM  

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