Saturday, April 11, 2009

Marley and Me


Last year Jon and I were planning to get a dog. We talked to our landlord, revised our lease, found a local litter of adorable Weimaraner puppies and even took a stroll through PetSmart. We thought a dog would be a good "replacement baby." A few days later we found out we were pregnant. We now joke that Jack is our "replacement dog." Jon still really wants a dog, and I do too, but now is really not the time. Besides the fact that we're both too busy to give a puppy the attention it deserves, we also don't know what kind of place we'll be living in next year. So it's best to wait and see where things go ...
During our visit to Key West last year, our friends gave us a copy of "Marley and Me" with instructions to "read this before you get a dog." So I did. I finished the book in two days, it was that good.
We never got a chance to see the movie when it was in theaters, so last week Jon bought the DVD. (Sidenote: While I only buy movies that I know I love enough to watch at least once a year, Jon is one of the few people I know who will purchase a movie he's never seen before. I find this very interesting ...) We finally had a movie date night after Jack went to bed last Saturday. It's a really cute movie. Although I wish it were a bit more family-appropriate, I highly recommend it if you haven't seen it yet. Be prepared for tears though. I don't think I've cried that hard since Jack was a teeny baby and wouldn't take naps!
Anyway, the movie is mainly a story about a young couple's experience with "the world's worst dog." But afterwards Jon and I agreed that there were so many other aspects of the movie that we really resonated with us. Isn't that what makes a movie great? When it's something you can relate to? I'm sure that's why I love all my Jane Austen-esque movies. I mean you don't have to have been born in the 17th century to realize:

... "a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife" (Pride and Prejudice) Why else would the Millionaire Matchmaker be so successful?
... perhaps we should all "compare our conduct with what it should have been" - Elinor's (Sense and Sensibility)
... gossip is a terrible and destructive force, especially if you live in a small town (Cranford, Wives and Daughters)
... it may be "better to be without sense than to misapply it" as Emma did (Emma)
... that your future husband could very well be the man you swore you'd never love (Pride and Prejudice, North and South)
... imagination should be cultivated in a child (Anne of Green Gables) and curbed in a teenage (Northanger Abbey)
... beware of the neighbor boy (Wuthering Heights)
... the value of a second chance (Persuasion, Jane Eyre)

Now you know why I love my movies so much! :)
That said, there were a few parts of Marley and Me that really made sense to me now that I've got 6 months of motherhood under my belt. There was one point where Jennifer Aniston said, as a working mother, she felt like she was half the employee, and half the mother, she wanted to be. I've definitely said this to myself and Jon plenty of times. There's so much more I'd like to do with both my job and my home, but right now I only have time for so much.
Also, I may not have a two year old and a screaming, colicky baby, but I could definitely relate to Jennifer at the end of an exasperating day, when she told her husband she didn't know who she was anymore. Ahh, so true. Sometimes I look back at pictures or read through old journals and realize, I'm not a carefree college student anymore who spends my free time deep in thought and listening to music, we're not the sizzling, fun newlyweds we used to be, I used to love to shop but I can't even keep up with latest styles anymore, and I now feel like I'm phasing out of my career rather than building it. And it all happens so fast I haven't had a chance to get to know the new me yet!
It also helps to get a guy's perspective. I hope our home is never so chaotic that my husband spends a few minutes sitting in his car in the driveway when he gets home, working up the courage to walk in the front door. And I'll try not to blame my frustrations as a working, mommying woman on my poor man, especially when his time at home with us is so limited.
And last but not least, I hope that after we get our little family built and established, perhaps we too can move into that stunningly beautiful Pennsylvania farmhouse, complete with tree-lined lane and plenty of fields to roam. Sigh.

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