Saturday, September 18, 2010

Eat, Pray ... Love???

My Mom and I had girl's day out today. Two reasons: one I've been traveling a lot lately and I thought it would be nice to reconnect outside of our daily duties, and two, I was fighting with my boyfriend. What a better escape than a chick flick and what a better partner in crime to hang out with than My Mom. She's a sympathetic listener and God bless her, she always sides with me.
I didn't really intend for her to be such an active participant in the outing, nor quite so fun, but we really had a spectacular afternoon.
My Mom was pretty perky from the minute I announced we were going to the show. She's been failing again mentally and I honestly don't think she knew where we were going. As always, she was game for anything outside the house. Her enthusiasm boiled over like the popcorn spilling out of the popper as we hit the concession stand.
"Look at that," she said in complete awe over all the treats in the lighted case. Music to my ears. A girl's gotta binge while she's working out complex relationship issues (also known as sulking). I was thrilled that My Mom was an eager participant in ordering junk food rather than have her critically comment on the potential pounds I might put on as a result. (Yes, she would go there.)
Never have I ordered so much -- and the bonus, it was all at her insistence. How could I refuse? We walked into the theater with a giant bag of popcorn, candy, two drinks and even an order of chicken tenders. On the way, My Mom spotted an advertisement for a place that served ice cream. I assured her we'd make a stop there when the movie was over. Quick confession: My Mom never was much of a movie person, so it's even tougher with Alzheimer's for her to engage with a film. Seeing she was such a trooper at hanging with me, I thought the least I could do was provide a spectacular picnic movie lunch, including somewhat healthy protein from the chicken tenders. She sits quite well through a flick if I bring enough treats. We were prepared to make it through a double feature.
We don't go often, but my only real concern in attending a movie is whether she'll talk disruptively once the show starts. I save key pieces of candy for those moments to distract her from any lengthy conversation. She also hums through everything, but the cinema sound typically drowns her out. We've been shushed at church and a small play, but other than that it's been okay. Finally, I always go in the late afternoon when only a handful of people attend and we sit at a respectful distance from the other moviegoers.
I really wished that My Mom could understand where we were or the content of the movie. If this had been released in her day she would have taken both of her daughters to see it in an instant. She loved exposing us to other cultures and, even though she was a devout Catholic, she embraced the idea of attaining higher awareness and universal love. I remember when she and I went to see Gandhi when it came out when I was in high school. She enjoyed the movie for her own sake, but desperately wanted me to love it too. I remember vividly the animated conversation we carried on about the movie as we left the theater and all the way home.
I felt that same way toward her as we sat in the theater today. I wanted her to embrace the story. I hoped at the very least she'd enjoy the scenery. It was the kind of the thing the old her would have really appreciated.
I never expected her to become absorbed in the movie. My Mom was mesmerized almost from the minute the movie started. First of all, one of the opening scenes featured a baby. She's always enthralled with babies. Then she thought she knew Julia Roberts. She actually laughed at the jokes and elbowed me at one point to ask if I got it. In Italy the female characters were lying on the floor trying to button up jeans. I thought I should explain to My Mom that the girls had been eating too much and that's why the jeans were tight. "I know, she told me," My Mom replied. Hilarious. Indeed, the main character had said they that needed to go shopping for bigger pants in the previous scene. My Mom thought she was part of the discussion.
A little later when the Julia Roberts character was crying, My Mom stretched her arm toward the big screen to hand her a tissue. Touching yes, but also a sign of just how distorted My Mom's reality has become. I'm the one that needed a tissue at that point.
While My Mom was reaching out to the character in the movie, I was relating. When the book came out multiple people bought it for me and dozens, if not more than a hundred, said it was a 'must read' for me. I didn't make it past the opening chapters back then. The author was so like me, it wasn't even entertaining. I figured if I wanted to relive that type of pain, I would just go back and read my own journals.
That was some time ago. I feel differently now. I was anxious to see the movie. I knew it would speak to my soul, so I wanted to be in the right mindset to see it and I wanted to be with the right girlfriend.
How awesome that person ended up being My Mom. Today proved to be the perfect day and My Mom the perfect partner to escape to all the wonderful landscapes shown in the movie. She genuinely enjoyed every scene. It was remarkable.
My Mom and I appropriately ate our way through the 'Eat' portion of the story in Italy along with the characters. We fully embraced the trip to Indonesia for the 'Pray' portion and then we found ourselves run right off the road to happiness just as we hit 'Love'.
A handsome man driving a jeep rolled into town in the film. Immediately I knew it was the love interest. I felt my heart come to life, exactly as a desperate tap hit my right arm.
"I have to go to the bathroom," My Mom said as her stomach confirmed the urgency with a loud gurgle. There was no time for disappointment. With swift speed we wheeled out of theater six and made our way to the closest restroom. I needed to contain the pending concession stand catastrophe as best as possible. The treats took their toll.
By the time we were done changing and cleaning up it didn't seem worth heading back in for the final minutes of the movie. What good's a happy ending without the romantic build up? I stopped at the customer service desk and they were kind enough to give me a rain check to go back later tonight and watch the ending. I have to. As much as I love My Mom and didn't mind for one second having to take her home -- I can't risk what happened today becoming the story of my life -- Eating, Praying then totally missing out on Love.
I'll wait until she falls asleep and sneak back to the theater. I don't want to miss out on a happy ending!

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