Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Secondhand Lions and Sense of Place

I admit to being a couch potato tonight - and also a sap. First on the tube was American Idol (go Jason Castro and David Archuleta!) and then one of my favorite movies - quite possibly my very favorite movie, actually - Secondhand Lions.

If you have not seen Secondhand Lions - go get the DVD - you will love it or I'll eat Connor's gym sock! I'm a fan of Robert Duvall in any movie - but he played an especially terrific role in this one, as did Michael Caine.

A young boy, Walter (Haley Joel Osment), is dumped off at his rich uncles' house by his mom so she can wander off and live her life without ties. He feels unwanted (obviously) and awkward/shy (obviously) because he has never met these uncles before. They live in an old farmhouse in rural Texas. The uncles are eccentric and set in their ways and don't like having him around at first. The movie evolves as the old men become attached to their new house guest and he to them. Walter learns that his uncles have led very adventurous and interesting lives and he finds himself drawn to their history. Eventually, they are not just weird old men living in a farmhouse - but interesting, noble men who have lived and learned from life. I won't divulge any more of the plot so I don't ruin it for you when you watch it. Have I mentioned that you need to go rent the DVD?

I love this movie's portrayal of life's phases and stages. Walter has his whole life before him. He is learning and growing and finding his place in the world. Conversely, the uncles have lived life and have wonderful memories to which they firmly grasp while knocking on the door of their final years. They don't want to let the memories go and they don't want their senior years to rob them of their dignity.

As time passes on ever so rapidly for me, I am reminded of my once-small children who are no longer as needy of me and my wisdom motherly advice. Wasn't it just yesterday that they rushed to me in the middle of the night - scared because of a nightmare? My children are finding their places in the world. Have I taught them well? Do they know of my indescribable love and concern for them? Have they learned from my mistakes? Do they understand the importance of good decisions?

I am keenly aware that in a few short years my children will be living on their own, possibly raising their own families. Will I be ready for that next phase of my life?