Monday, January 31, 2011
To infinity, and beyond
What is it about our childhoods? The holding on, the reaching back. I guess it’s because things were simpler, we were simpler. Nostalgia, on its own, is a powerful thing. But when coupled with other emotions – love, loss, regret, hope – it can comfort us better than any blanket. Over the weekend my mother’s best friend, a woman I’ve known since the fourth grade, died suddenly. Wife, mother, grandmother, friend. She was one of the most gracious, hard-working and thoughtful persons I’ve ever known. Our families were close. We spent almost every Christmas Eve together – including this past year – for decades. Yet there, on the other end of that phone call, I wished I was closer. But the 2,000 miles between us meant I could only offer condolences and platitudes. Once the call was over, I was left alone with just thoughts of her family and my mother and all those shared holidays and meals and laughs. So I sought out my own comforting nostalgia. And what I turned to for a surrogate hug was Pixar. It may seem silly to find solace in movies. But that, after all, is what they’re there for – entertainment, diversion, understanding, truth. This weekend I marathoned all the “Toy Story” movies. Can you believe I’d never seen them before – and I’m a Pixar fangirl. And then, when I had trouble sleeping that night, I pulled up “Finding Nemo” on my iPhone and let it help me drift off to slumber. Yes, I’m a childless adult with “Finding Nemo” and “WALL-E” on her phone. While they’re not a part of my childhood, they bring up the universal emotions from childhood. Regardless of age, they’re a reminder of what mattered then isn’t really so much different than what matters now. Love, laughter, loyalty and how lucky we are to have good friends pass through our lives.