Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Benjamin Button--my life thoughts

My husband took me to the movies last weekend. As you can guess from the title, we saw The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. For those of you literary types, you can easily access this very short book on the internet free of charge--but the movie doesn't follow the book in the least.
I really like movies that make me think about my own mortality. In Benjamin's case, he was going through life backwards--physically that is. Though I certainly can't relate to that--except for those darn gray hairs that have popped up in the last couple years and seem to be multiplying rather quickly. I'm much too young to have gray hair right? (I seem to sidetrack much too often when I write...)
Some of the ideas in the movie really hit home to me though. The idea that there are some people who you know for such a short time, but have such a profound impact on your life. I can remember my first piano teacher and her wiry hair. She really inspired me to love the piano--not enough to practice regularly, but still. Sadly, she moved away after a year and my second teacher simply frustrated me and I quit. Both women, though involved in my life only briefly, had major impact.
I recently signed up on Facebook--as most of you know who are now my "friends." I have been seeing photos and getting caught up with several people who I knew only through middle school through high school graduation. Though that seems like a rather lengthy period of time--in the grand scheme of things, it really isn't. I've already been married longer than I knew those people I graduated with.
Since having three children, I have really struggled and still do struggle with finding some sort of a balance with my children, my husband, my faith and even myself. There are so many good things I would like to do with my family and for myself, but I'm having a hard time finding any time. It feels a lot like my expectations for the Christmas holiday only strung out for who knows how long...
The movie helped to remind me that my children are only this tiny age for such a short time. Too soon I'm sure they won't value my opinion over their friends. Too soon they won't want to show me all of their school projects. Too soon they won't say cute, funny little things. My house will be dirty forever, but my kids won't be tiny that long. These valuable relationships that we treasure, we have them on this earth for such a short time, but our impact on each other can be incredibly profound--both for good and bad.
This life really is such a short journey. There are so many good options and opportunities. I hope that I am picking the right ones. I hope that I'm utilizing this brief time for all it's worth.

12 comments:

Kelli said...

Good, I get to be the first to comment! My mom and I saw this movie over Christmas and I cried.

I think the part that got to me the most was when the daughter was reading all of the post cards her dad had sent to her. It made me wonder if I couldn't be right there with my children what would I say to them? What could I possibly say so they would know how much I love them?

I also thought it was sad when he was a teenager. I also wonder if I am using this time, while my children are small, to make the most impact possible. What could I do to be more productive?

Ultimately though, I suppose I can only do what I can do and that has to do. If I worry about it too much I end up wasting time.

CC said...

Amen to your last thoughts. I so agree!

Tina said...

Audrey- We saw this movie over the holidays. I really liked it, Jon didn't. He said that he didn't like it because he feels like Benjamin didn't learn anything. The "so what" question wasn't answered for him.
I felt the opposite. (Sometimes I wonder if we saw the same movie.) I felt like Benjamin made a huge sacrifice by leaving when he did. I think he really tried to get the most out of his backwards life. I was also touched by the ending. And it occurred to me that regular people, when they near the end of their life, usually become like little children requiring constant loving care.
I had similar thoughts to what you described, too. I feel like I'm receiving that message from many different sources lately- ENJOY YOUR KIDS WHILE THEY ARE LITTLE AND (mostly) CUTE AND LOVING.
I'm trying to listen.

Kim said...

Well put. I feel overwhelmed with all of the things that I need to, want to, and should do that I'm worried I'll look back and regret what I actually end up doing. And as for the gray hair thing, my first grays popped up in my early twenties and I have to dye my hair about once a month or my roots are totally gray. Jon's dad even noticed how bad they were one time from the stand at church. Yikes!

Lara said...

Like Tina, I've been having a lot of these kinds of thoughts lately. It is hard to find balance as a mother of young children, but ever since Bria turned 8 I've started to kind of see how quickly it all passes by and I'm trying so hard to enjoy it while I can. And still stay sane. :)

Mama Corleone said...

I love this post. I think we all need reminding now and then that these really are the best years of our life...and we don't even know it.

My last baby has thrown me over the edge. Nothing gets done anymore...and I go to bed full of guilt every night. My daughter turns 10 this year...10...that means she will officially be over the half-way mark on moving out, and I feel like we have decades of things left to teach her. It's so horrifying. BUT...all we can do is our best.

As for the gray hair...all I can say is that I am older than you...and I still don't have any. That's the last thing I have to give, every other part of my body thinks I'm 60.

Lacey said...

Wonderful thoughs...

As a mother we all feel the same way you do..my house always looks "lived in" and I guess that isn't a bad thing. I was talking to a single friend at work the other night and she was telling me houw her house looks like a model home because her kids are grown and it's just her at home. I was complaining about how when I'm gone, my house tends to get more unorganized than when I'm there. She said to me "oh, to have that lived in house again! Don't wish it away, it will be gone before you know it and then your house will look like a model home!"

It really made me think about what's important to me. it doesn't mean I still don't want a clean house..just constantly finding that balance!

Jessica Martiele said...

My struggle isn't to keep everything running smoothly...I've never cared much about that. My struggle is to give up selfishness (ie time blogging, reading, what-have-you) to enjoy my kids more. I guess we all have our struggles, but the main idea is that this time really does pass quickly. I'll never have another baby, and before I know it, my son will be serving a mission and my daughter graduating from high school. Back to Zen Parenting...thanks, Audrey! I needed that reminder!

JLJ said...

I really liked this movie too. I stayed up late that night just replaying scenes and thinking about what things mean. I was really intrigued by the idea of timing. How it seems our life is a series of coincidences; how the people we are close to are tied to decisions that may or may not have been lightly made and if those decisions had been made differently, our lives and our relationships may not be what they are. That is both scary and empowering. We have no control but we have total control.

I'm glad you liked the movie too.

Meridith said...

I loved reading your post Audrey. I have and find myself having these very thoughts too. I really enjoyed reading your insights and just keep trying not to get so exasperated over my messy house. My children are my greatest joy and I don't want to pass up this precious time I have with them when they are little.

peachytiffers said...

I really want to see that movie. I totally agree with you that I cannot find the time to do what I want to or think that I want to do. This thing called life and being "grown up" is so hard!

rachel said...

I have had so many of the same feelings lately. As we are approaching graduation. We did get through it even though it feels like we never would. I keep wondering what it is that my kids will remember about me. . . I hope it's good!