Monday, August 31, 2009

J, J, and J

For J's birthday, I took him to see Julie & Julia. We both enjoyed the escape, enjoyed the chance to sit and talk about something other than our children afterward.

Except, of course, that we DID end up talking about our children anyway, because the film, like most things in our lives, made us think of them. Ain't it funny how all roads lead to Roosters and Peaches.

If you haven't seen the movie, Julie becomes a blogger striving to work her way through Julia Child's cookbook in a year and write about her experiences through cooking. Her story weaves in and out of Julia's own, and as the tale wove together, I clearly shared things in common with each character. Julia and I both love food, talk loudly, and care about finishing what we start. Julie and I both blog, have unfinished novels, live urban lives situated to suit our husband's jobs, and fantasize about meeting the writers we admire. There are even more differences, of course, the biggest is this: neither of those women have children.

For Julie, a contemporary character, still in her 30's in 2002, childbearing time remains, but Julia clearly struggled with deep sadness about never having given birth. You can see it when she can't take her eyes off the passing carriage, when she lovingly strokes her friend's toddler, when she berefly sobs, "I'm so happy for her," upon finding out her sister is pregnant.

As the credits rolled, and J and I lingered in the theater, I asked him, "Could you imagine us if we'd not had kids?" I knew he could, and yet it still surprised me to hear him say it. We've had this talk before; I'm slow to absorb things sometimes. I told him, "As crazy as I get, as much as I can suck at parenting, I'm one hundred percent certain I'm one hundred percent glad we had our kids. I wouldn't have felt fulfilled without them, even though I get depressed sometimes now." J loves our children every single bit as much as I do, and he offers them more patience and better disposition. He wouldn't trade them. But, as he tells me, he could have been happy, he thinks, either way. He can imagine us visiting far away places, exploring hobbies, writing together. And yet he's happy, too, that we have children.

Happy might exaggerate how I am, but for me, having children felt like answering a question asked deep within myself. I needed to experience my children, to know them and to know me, to see my future unfold the way it felt it had been written to do.

In the movie, I could not relate much to Julie's hunger for blog readership, her need for accolades, her external motivations, the pain she experienced when criticized or rejected via her blog. I blog because I feel like I have no choice, and I do it for myself alone. I need blogging. I also deeply needed my children. I can't imagine my life without either.

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

hello, my name is stephanie. i'm just starting to discover all these amazing mamas who are blogging and i want to tell you that i adore your writing, and will definitely be back for more.