The Hours

Last week was a little rough. Found myself fantasizing about the scene in The Hours where Julianne Moore drives away. FROM IT ALL.   And of course I would never never never do such a thing.  Does that even need to be said?  It’s not that I want to leave my family (okay, there are moments when I do, but only during particularly torturous moments, and really, a week alone in Paris would be nice).  It’s just that domestic life sometimes feels like it’s taking up all the air.  In the movie, (and book),  even though we see how unthinkably devastating the whole scene is, we also GET that she’s saving her own life.

Have I mentioned I can be a touch dramatic?  Anyway, thinking about the scene gave me both consolation (that author Michael Cunningham somehow gave voice to the reality of women historically being trapped, like butterflies in amber, unable to be who they really were, existing only for others) and a good laugh (at myself that I am such a shameless drama queen).  Family life can be like this.  And not just for women, right?  The paradox being, of course, that my family life is both grounding (in the best ways) and carries a richness in feeling and experience which makes my heart break wide open in ways I’d never imagined.  The balance ebbs and flows between feeling limited and fed by it.  On the best days, they exist exquisitely side by side and my gratitude runneth over.  On my worst days, I’m waiting on the sidewalk hoping to hitch a ride with Julianne.

Today I have two stuffy flushed cheeked boys home from school resting. My plans: foiled.  But some days, like today, I can surrender to what is, take the long view: there will be other days.  Today I feel blessed to be able to be here with them, to have time slow down for a day.  Too often it’s whizzing right by.  At the moment, Ben and James are cuddled up together in my big bed, limbs intertwined, air still and warm, Ben reading patiently to James, such beauty resting right up against the ordinary, always.  Sometimes I see it, and sometimes I don’t.  Sometimes I’m in too much of a rush. Some days I want to HAVE IT ALL and RIGHT NOW.

Do you want to hear the soundtrack that I was playing in my head while she (me) was driving away?  I really upped the drama.  Go here to listen.


To be reminded of how amazing The Hours is, see the trailer here or find the book here.

Interesting coincidence that must be noted: the boy who played Julianne’s character’s son in the movie lives across the street from my parents.  He’s not so little anymore.  Sometimes he’s outside shooting hoops by himself.  I can’t go to my parent’s house without being haunted by the image of that little boy standing on the curb watching his mother drive away.  *sigh*  I know, I know, it’s not real, it’s just a movie.

Notes to self:

6 thoughts on “The Hours

  1. And read Mrs. Dalloway, on which Cunningham based The Hours. It’s devastatingly beautiful. Love that India Arie song too. More gratitude to you for making my mornings precious with your words.

  2. Oh … the high costs of saving our own lives. Also: the long view and the short one, and … well, just know that this post landed somewhere deep inside of me.
    Thank you.

    • It’s just so beautiful isn’t it? First i was amazed how Michael Cunningham pulled off a book about the complex internal lives of three women, and then equally amazed at how well done the movie was. Thanks so much for reading! EEM

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