Why oh why was I so determined to watch Home for the Holidays?
I was looking for irony to toughen my aching heart through the holidays. But this movie just made it ache more.
Why? Because last time, I saw this movie as a daughter, this time as a mother.
In 1995, when it came out, I was a daughter who returned home for the holidays; I identified with the daughter. I was a mom already then, but my kids were little and bore no similarity to the grown children in the film.
But now they do. Now they are young men with lives of their own. Now I am the parent, one that I hope they will love in spite of my foibles. How intense are my foibles? How much will I embarrass them? How excruciating will it be to come home and deal with me?
Home for the Holidays was an interesting look at human families: people who come together for the purpose of raising small children, who then leave and make their own lives elsewhere. But you all share these memories of being a little unit of humanity that held together for survival.
Human bonds are so fragile; it's a miracle that any family holds together at all. That they do is a testament to the parents' tenacity, because children's movement is always outward, outward, outward.
Well, at least there is no gassy Aunt Gladdy in our family; that's a relief.