In the uber-real tradition of modern small film-making, "Away We Go" is the story of thirty-something knocked-ups, Burt and Verona, who are trying to find a real home in which to raise their pending bundle. Throughout the film, Verona avoids returning to her childhood home on the bayou, because the memory of her now dead parents is too painful. She ultimately does go back, of course, and predictably, it turns out to be the perfect place for her and her new family. Verona is still trepidatious, but gracefully puts her fears aside in the hope of giving her baby an authentic home and a real childhood (a playing -on-the-river, Huck Finn-sans-racism childhood.)
It was touching, not least because Burt asks at one point, "ARE we fuck ups?" Which is something I wonder about myself a lot lately.
The thought of confronting a painful childhood and re-settling myself in the place where that pain was inflicted is a fascinating idea to me. Though, honestly, I can't really see it happening. I have definitely confronted my pain, but as for re-settling myself in the South, it seems less and less likely. There are dear, dear persons there that I miss horribly, but I would miss New York just as much. My beau is a native New Yorker, and his family is here, and as we get more serious, it is even more doubtful that I will return to my childhood home, much as I wish I could sometimes - around the holidays, for instance.
Every year during the holiday season, I watch "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," "A Charlie Brown Christmas," and in recent years, "When Harry Met Sally" and "Love Actually." These films all have the ability to touch me repeatedly, and make me nostalgic, but not for Christmases past, exactly. Instead, I feel a longing for my child self - I miss her. I also feel a simultaneous longing for my future family. I think maybe this is the main reason people have children, to recapture the enthusiasm and hope they themselves used to feel. I wouldn't mind having one for that reason my own self, but somehow, in my circumstances, it seems unfair to the child.
In my experience, the holidays are all about awkwardness and loneliness, and I guess it will always feel odd to me to be without a cohesive family. I do have some kick-ass friends, however, and many of them have included me in their Christmas festivities over the years. I am so grateful for this and have always had a lovely time, but it feels a bit pathetic to always be the outsider.
Since my new fella is Jewish, I don't know what my future holiday traditions will include. This year, we attempted to have Chinese food and go to the movies (which is what good Jews traditionally do, I am told) on Christmas Eve, but he worked late, and so we ended up having a quickie chow mein and heading to my place, which is fully decorated with a 7.5 foot Christmas tree, door swags, candy cane candles, and snowman throw rugs. The important thing is that we were together, of course, though I wish we'd had time to go to the movies. I want to see the new Sherlock Holmes film, and I probably wouldn't have even struck anyone since it was Christmas Eve, and all.