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Thursday, June 9, 2016

That time I was like Sandra Bullock.

Dear Josie,

The other day I watched the movie Gravity.  Twice.  Because it's the summer and because I'm a space nerd and because I'm a glutton for punishment.

In the fall of 2013, a pregnant me went to the movies by herself.  It had been a looooong day (or what I'd considered long back then.)  Your father was helping your uncle remodel a bathroom.  I had been home alone with sciatica and an increasingly adamant and unruly and STRONG three year old, for most of the day.

Earlier we'd visited the mall.  Mostly to pass the time but also because I absolutely needed another overpriced maternity tunic.  My blissfully naive, swollen hands led him into "Motherhood Maternity", and after humoring their giant stack of blocks indoor playground for all of three minutes, he began to whine and cry and wail.   I decided the tunic wasn't worth all the stares I was getting.  Truthfully, I'm confident half of the customers were giving the whole parenthood thing a second thought because of us, but I digress.

He gladly followed me out and was smiling until he realized we were not going to the actual mall playground ten feet away (why did I park there??).  I picked him up and carried him, kicking and screaming all the way to the parking lot, where many horrified onlookers assumed they were bearing witness to the slowest kidnapping ever.

After I'd strapped him in, still screaming, I sat in the driver's seat and began to cry too.  I was exhausted and sore and sans adorable tunic on sale, but I still never thought you would die.

Your father arrived home two hours later.  Pretty immediately I kissed him goodbye and drove myself to the movie I'd been wanting to see.

**Spoiler alert**, but in the movie "Gravity", Sandra Bullock gets stuck in space.  Her craft is destroyed by some orbiting debris and the rest of the crew dies.  She is a newbie to the whole space thing, but with the help of some George Clooney oxygen-deprived hallucinations, she figures out how to get back home.  It's an interesting story but to me, none of it describes what the movie is about.   

Early on, Sandra's character explains how she lost a four year-old daughter.  During this scene I remember crying.  Rubbing my belly and crying. 

Later, she is stranded on a module with no remaining fuel or people.  She seems to accept her fate here, shutting off the oxygen supply along with the lights and closing her eyes.  George Clooney appears and  tells her that she certainly could.  She could give up and no one would argue, no one would begrudge her basically, because she'd been through the very worst thing.  Losing a child, not getting lost in space.

But she doesn't.  She opens her eyes and she uses the soft landing jets and a fire extinguisher to navigate towards the Chinese Space Station, where a module is already headed for home.

Of course the movie isn't entirely believable, but I enjoy it.   My favorite part has to be the very last scene where she makes it back.  After a fiery reentry and nearly drowning,  Sandra's feet finally touch the ground.  She digs her hands into the mud and she smiles and she says "thank you."

Sometimes, it still seems that I am orbiting some life that used to be mine.  Watching from afar, an unwilling witness at best.  Never really trying.  Never  truly taking part.  

But sometimes I can feel myself making the decision to hold on.  And that sand, or mud or whatever she lands in, is beneath my fingernails.  Sometimes, even when I'm crying on my couch at midnight after an FX encore presentation,  I feel more alive than I ever did before. 



1 comment:

  1. "Sometimes, it still seems that I am orbiting some life that used to be mine."

    I get this, I really do. That film also struck a chord with me - I think I saw it after N died, though and it made me feel kind of shit. Like, yes, this is so bad - no one would be alarmed if you decided to give up. But I guess we didn't give up anyway. Hugs to you and your Josie x