26 December 2010

Lessons from "Little Women"

I didn't grow up with cable, so Christmas never included 24 hours straight of "The Christmas Story" or any other countless holiday movies. But it is certainly one aspect of Christmas that I enjoy now. So when I laid down one night and saw that Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women" was on, I was thrilled. I remember really liking the movie when I was younger, but I seemed to get so much more out of it this time. There were a few things that really struck me this time. I don't know if it is because I am getting old, or if it the phase of life I am in, but I wanted to share.

1- Simplicity - I loved all the Christmas decorations: the hand-tied garland that flanked every entryway, the bows tied from left-over red scraps. I am so often ashamed by my ridiculous amount of possessions, purchased for a ridiculous amount of money at some store, or from some garage sale. After watching the movie, I was inspired to make my own wreath. Something I have always wanted to do. It wasn't crazy hard, it didn't take forever, but it certainly took time. It took energy, and I ended up with something I was proud to put on my door. But what if I had to make everything I used? Every article of clothing that had to be cut and sewn? Every grain of wheat that had to be harvested, dried and ground? Would I think twice about my "needs"? Something as simple as chicken stock, bread, pasta, butter - what if I had to make these things everytime you wanted it? Perhaps I would be more cautious of the things I use.

2- Simple Food - The March family has fallen on hard times during the war, as has the whole community. On Christmas morning they lay a breakfast spread that each girl marvels at. The main delight? Bread with butter. Later, Joe is in New York and has meet Prof. Bear. At one point he hands her a gift - a simple orange. Later that night she writes by candlelight while eating her pealed orange. Would I be satisfied with a simple orange as my bedtime snack? I think about my options each night for a snack. The food in my fridge, freezer and pantry could probably feed my family for weeks, maybe months. I work hard to make simple, unprocessed foods for my family. Yet thinking about this made me realize just how far from "simple" I live.

3- Some things don't change - I never liked Amy, in the book or the movie. I still remember reading the book as a child, and throwing the book across the room when Amy marries Laurie. And I was so upset when she waisted a whole months rag money on limes. What a silly desire. But don't we all do that, buy into something simple that every one else wants? I do it. The "all natural" looking toys I like my children to have, trendy clothes, a well-designed home. These are my 26 limes that cost my family a whole months rag money.

4- I am old - I remember watching this movie when I was in highschool, and I was not satisfied at all when Joe ended up with Prof. Bear. Why? Because Laurie was a young, energetic character while Prof. Bear was old. What happened when I watched it this time? Somehow Prof Bear wasn't so old. He was charming, intelligent, and sophisticated. The movie certainly didn't change, it must be me. I must be getting old, because the ending was so much more satisfying this time.

I watched the movie with Annalia this time. I know it was silly, to think that she would enjoy it at her age. She didn't. She kept asking if we could watch "An American Tale" instead. I really hope I didn't ruin it for her. At the end, she said "I didn't like that movie." Probably had something to do with Joe (a boy's name) ending up with the old guy.

No comments: