Obviously, the holiday season is going to be different this year. We won’t spend any time at mom’s house. Mom won’t making the candies she called Martha Washingtons like she did every year (like it or not!). But somehow, I didn’t really think things would be unbearably different. Naively, I didn’t think that this year would be that bad since we will be in Kansas City.
But of course it will be different. The whole thing will be different. My brothers aren’t coming to Arkansas, I’ll be away from home for the week of the 25th, and when I get home, mom still won’t be here. And thanks to the brilliant minds who program the holiday movie schedules, it seems that fact will be driven home on a regular basis this week.
I watched The Family Stone last night. I’d seen previews for it, so when I saw it was on television I settled in on the couch to watch. I was totally invested in the movie about a guy and a girl and the guy’s family who doesn’t like the girl much… and the family dynamics of the siblings during the holidays… when, in the last 15 minutes of the damn thing, the storyline reveals that the mom is dying of cancer. Of course I sat and sobbed as the fiance character, Sarah Jessica Parker, gave the family each a portrait of their mother that she had made from a snapshot that sat on her boyfriend’s desk. Then I sobbed more when, in the final scene, everyone gathered for Christmas the next year and the mother wasn’t there. What kind of happy holiday movie is that, exactly??? It sucked. They could have done the same exact movie, with the same exact lessons taught, without losing the mom.
Then tonight, when I saw that Big Fish was on – a movie I have wanted to see – I thought, oh great! But when, ten minutes in, we visit the main character’s dad as he convalesced at home with cancer, I decided that I wouldn’t put myself through it.The mom explains that the dad isn’t eating well, and is getting weaker due to his lack of appetite, then she gives the son a can of Ensure to see if the son can convince him to drink it. Serious flashback time. And when the son goes into the bedroom to see the dad, the dad wants a drink of water, and the cup has a bendy straw in it. More serious flashback. If the man had brown eyes and had been wearing a knit cap on a bald head, it would have been my mother. It was way too much.
So, hey all you television execs out there (I’m sure you’re all reading my blog…) Let’s find some happy stories to air during the holidays, how about? How about nothing with dead or dying parents. No sick or missing children. No soldiers who won’t come home. Those of us who have had these things happen to us recently REALLY don’t need to see the Hollywood version. I promise.