It's a Wonderful Female Life
There is a sign in my kitchen that I look at every morning. It says "Enjoy life. This is not a dress rehearsal." My mom put it in my husband's Christmas stocking one year and I appropriated it. (The one she got me said "No Whining." Gee, thanks mom.)
Actually, my husband didn't need either of these messages. He's a very "live in the moment" kind of guy and rarely whines. But the holiday season has me thinking about the messages we get in December. You know, how It's a Wonderful Life, and all that. Why is it that all of these tales involve men realizing that the life they have (or could have) is really pretty great? That money and power is not, actually, what it's all about. I can't think of any movies like this that involve women.
Is that because we already get it? I don't buy that, because everyone needs reminding, regardless of their gender, that often what we already have is pretty great. That's why I love that sign in my kitchen. Sometimes I find myself reading it in the morning, and I look up and see my husband staggering around in his bathrobe, his face covered in shaving cream, a cup of coffee in his hand. I barely have time to brush my hair or wash my face. I'm busy trying to get my nearly 5-year-old out of bed, fed, dressed, brushed, lunch packed and out the door. It's the morning marathon and I like it when I can realize how blessed I am to run it. (Instead of running around screaming, "Where did you put your shoes?!Where!)
So I love the message behind It's a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Carol and even the romantic, charming movie The Family Man. This year we are watching the Grinch (the original cartoon) with my daughter and reading her the book. The Grinch, is of course, definitely another one of these male archetypees.
I also like the movie Love, Actually. But none of the many female characters in it have any of these seasonal-inspired spiritual transformations. The closest we get is Karen (played fantastically by Emma Thompson) who realizes that her husband hasn't been entirely devoted. But she has two kids; she doesn't walk out. And poor Sarah (played by Laura Linney) - she could really use a spiritual awakening and move on with her life (and into bed with the stunning, sensitive hunk in her office who is smitten with her). But she doesn't. Argh!Continued on the next page