Buttoning Up

by farrah on December 29, 2014 · 7 comments

Last night I decided to punish myself and watch ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’ again. I’ve seen it before and know how it makes me feel. If you’ve ever seen it, you know- and probably understand where this post is going. If you haven’t seen it, you should, but please don’t hold it against me.

benjamin button

On top of that movie, on my mind as of late is obviously the shedding of 2014 and the anniversary of my grandmother’s passing in 2011. These three things together share a common bond when it comes to remembering, missing, and obviously marking the passage of time and saying goodbye. They’re all sort of sad like Benjamin Button himself.

Nothing really makes me all bummed out like watching that movie. I get sad when I think about how the two main characters live for a few short blips in the days or years together- and might not have realized how wonderful they had it. Until later.

I think about that sort of thing a lot. I think about the houses we lived in, the places we have been, the struggles we’ve had. Last night while I was watching this movie- during a commercial break I check my phone and see a friend in a Facebook group posted a photo of a cute puppy and asked us to remind her again why not to get a dog. Friends started commenting with photos of their pet’s destruction and I had to jump on the bandwagon with mine. After all, I had this gem circa 2008 of Napa & Henry’s damage:

Dog damage

So in order to do that, I had to skim through my entire Fb photo history. That in itself was about as heart wrenching as the movie playing before me. I scrolled past photos of days that feel like decades ago- moving overseas, life when the twins were little, when they were born. Brody as a toddler, Brody being born. All of these images (which I have to admit- I was a photo posting whore back then) squeezed my heart.

I was reminded that those snapshots have passed, yes. And the time that we are IN is here. But before I know it this too will be a part of the past. Before I know it, it’s going to be 20 years from now and I am going to be going back, looking at photos of today and wistfully wishing I could return. Back to when my boys were little- and insisted on sitting atop me on the couch. I know that time is coming. I know it. The funny thing is I don’t dread it, nor welcome it. I just kind of accept it as fact, for what else can I do? I do not worry about ‘giving them enough attention’. I do not worry about spending too much time on social media, or in any way not giving them enough of me. I’m a great mother to them. I do not doubt that for a minute. It’s something else.

PicMonkey Collage

I watched the characters in the film pass each other by in periods of life. It was those simple blips they shared that made me the most sad. I don’t know why. Time passes, we all know that. ‘Living in the moment’ and all that yadda yadda talk. We all know that song and dance. There are thousands of mushy blog posts out there to remind you of ‘being present’ and the like. To be honest, if you can’t figure out that that sort of thing is important, reading someone’s jabbering about it on a blog isn’t going to help you. You either get it or you don’t.

I get it. I do. Hence I’m here trying to work out if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

I look back on pictures and miss those blips of my own. I know that I wrung every drop of contentment out of sitting there bleary eyed and exhausted- a baby or two on my lap. Bicycling in the Netherlands. Wandering about in Rome. Driving somewhere in Germany. I never resented/wasted/took for granted any of it… so again I ask- what good does it do me now to wallow in it? Or is this the appreciating part?

I don’t mean to sound negative. I’m not trying to bum you out. I assume that you, whoever you are is also out there appreciating what wonderful things have happened to you in your life- and if you don’t, well. That’s a shame. I guess what I’m getting at is the difficulty I’m having is reconciling the good of the past, staying in that ‘magical moment’ AND looking forward to the future at the same time. I don’t know how to do that. I don’t know if I want to do that either.

So thanks again, Benjamin Button for messing with my head and reminding me that life is super short. Harrumph.


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Elizabeth December 29, 2014 at 4:34 pm

I had very similar reactions when unpacking our storage unit that was delivered mid-December. It was about 90% nostalgic, sentimental items. As I looked through them, I realized that none of them made me happy-they only reminded me of what was and will never be again. But, when I think about those same memories without the tangible objects, I’m not sad at all. So, I parted with a whole garage full of tangible memories. It was HARD! I mean REALLY HARD! I even threw away the bridal portrait of me my mom and dad had hanging in their house (worst bridal portrait ever, but as I was throwing it out, it still felt really wrong). I gave away my wedding dress, tossed journals from foreign study in Costa Rica, etc. The only think I kept were the girls’ baby books specifically to pass on to them and a box full of photos. Those I’ll separate by kid, put in an album, and save them for when they are older (notice I did NOT say scrapbook!). This is a really long post mainly to say that I get it and getting rid of the tangible has made it all better. I am finding I don’t walk by a momento on a shelf and feel sad. Instead, I have a space in which I can breathe and am experiencing today without a longing for yesterday.


2 farrah December 29, 2014 at 5:01 pm

That’s really interesting. I don’t know if I can do that? But in my mind, we already have less of those tangible things as it is. I was never a scrapbook person- I’m awful. I don’t even really have baby books either! But that doesn’t mean that we (you and I) don’t look back on what was and appreciate it any less, you know? Time is such a tricky thing. Sometimes I wish I was oblivious and others I’m glad that I’m not.


3 Julia December 30, 2014 at 1:54 am

I always get that way this time of year. Maybe it’s that around the holidays I tend to look back over the years and while the moments I’m in are happy and wonderful and full, I find myself nostalgic for all those other moments.


4 farrah January 3, 2015 at 8:44 am

I’d like to hope that everyone does. It’s nice sometimes to think about where we were and how we grew. Hope you have a wonderful year!


5 Sisterhood of the Sensible Mom December 30, 2014 at 3:54 pm

I have not checked-in in a long, Farrah. Hi! ::waves enthusiastically::
I think you will appreciate the circuitous way I got here. I read Kathleen’s post about It’s a Wonderful Life, I clicked on the hyperlink, and traveled to her post about her aunt’s memorial service, I clicked on the link for your post about it, and then I clicked home to journey back to the present. Rather meaningful way to get here, don’t you think?
This post gave me the feels. I have loved every stage of my life and I know I was “present.” I find it almost unbearable to look at the thousands of photos I have taken. It causes an ache that is far removed from wistful. And yet, I continue to snap away. Maybe there is a psychology student somewhere who needs a thesis topic . . .


6 farrah January 3, 2015 at 8:46 am

As I said- I love that. It’s my favorite way of someone finding me. It’s nice to feel that we’ve done all we can do to be ‘present’ isn’t it? As of now, I have to yet to have any regrets when it comes to being a mom. ‘Not being there’ isn’t ever going to be one of them. Best wishes for a wonderful 2015 🙂


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