Story 21/24: Every Christmas, my family and I have a list of must-watch movies; A Christmas Story, Christmas Vacation, Elf, and of course, Home Alone. Except for Elf, these are the movies I grew up on.
What’s fascinating to me is that when these films first came out, I related to different characters than I do now.
In the 1980’s, I understood Ralphie’s gift plight knowing that the whole universe was against him having it. Now, I understand Ralphie’s dad, muttering over who turned up the thermostat, again, and how an acknowledgment of achievement, even in an ugly leg-lamp form, can excite.
When I was young, I remember wondering what I would do if my family went on vacation without me, accidentally. How would I defend my home from burglars? Now, I’m horrified at the notion of leaving a ten-year-old home alone for days while a couple of robbers hunt him down. Also, I’m mad that Kevin’s dad isn’t more upset that his son is home alone. Kevin’s mom is out, she’s bribing people for airplane tickets, and hitching rides with strangers who play nothing but Polka music. Where’s the dad? In Paris, making a few phone calls. He’s chilling. He’s fine. He’s kind of a jerk, actually.
I’ve experienced sitting in the back of a station wagon, and my dad obsessing over finding that perfect Christmas tree to cut down and bring home—I’ve lived it! And now, I relate to wanting to make Christmas special. I’ve overly decked out my house, putting up lights on the roof and almost killing myself—Griswald style. Because I’m an adult now, and that’s just what us adults do.
I don’t know what the next chapter of my life will bring. Until then, I’ll sit with my (almost) twenty-year-old daughter and laugh with my fifteen-year-old son, hold hands with my husband, and watch Elf, because I’m having the time of my life, right now, in the present.