Last weekend I was scrolling through the movies on ABC Family. Mommy was looking for some good ones to record for Layne. Among the many that were listed, Mommy came across the movie Up. Mommy recorded it.
The next morning Mommy turned it on for Layne. As the movie played Layne sat as still as a statue on the couch beside me. The beginning of the movie was very tender and sweet. It showed the start of a friendship between a shy little boy and a free spirited little girl. The boy was curious and loved balloons. The girl was talkative, enthusiastic, and adventurous. It showed how their friendship grew into love for one another. The girl kept an adventure book that help keepsakes from the many adventures she had as a kid. Somewhere near the middle of the half-filled book she hand-wrote the page - Stuff I'm Going To Do. The next page of the book showed a drawing of a place called Paradise Falls. It was a place she hoped to live one day. The many pages that followed were empty.
As Mommy sat on the couch with Layne, tears streamed down Mommy's cheeks. Not only was the movie incredibly touching, but Mommy found something very ironic. This happened to be the movie we took you to when we went to drive-in movie theater with our good friends and the boys- Jacob and Lucas. Mommy remembered how fun it was to have you three roly-poly little babes hanging out in the backyard. We even laughed about the idea of one day you and one of the boys going to the drive-in together as teenagers. Then we laughed even bigger when we captured this picture of you. We thought it was a nice display of how you felt about boys. Daddy liked it. :) Back then, the movie was touching, but nothing like it is now.
As Mommy sat on the couch and watched more of the movie with Layne, I couldn't help but think of my version of your adventure book. It was your scrapbook. I thought of how your Uncle Jamie held it up during your funeral service and talked about all the fun times that were documented inside. He also acknowledged how many empty pages would never be filled. I think that's what made this sweet little movie I was watching with Layne break Mommy's heart so much.
I thought of how many people, just like Mommy, have empty pages they were never able to fill. I thought about Mommy's own grandma and how grandpa passed away over twenty years ago leaving her behind to fill her adventure book alone. I thought about the families who were barely able to begin their adventure books because of SIDS. I thought of countless others whose life adventures have been altered or cut short because of heartbreaking circumstances. That made Mommy incredibly sad.
It was the end of the movie that reminded Mommy of the real lesson. Throughout the main part of the movie the man was doing everything he could to hang on to what he had left of his beloved wife. He found it difficult to enjoy the people around him and find happiness in new experiences. He worked tirelessly to try to honor the dream she had as a young girl. All the while and unbeknownst to the man, his wife had left him a message at the end of that adventure book. The message read…Thanks for the adventure…Now go have a new one!
Mommy thought back to those early days without you. I remembered how long it took before Mommy and Daddy found joy in our days again. In the beginning, Mommy remembers feeling guilty about making new memories with Layne. Mommy felt like happy days meant that I wasn't missing you like I should be. It took time…lots of time. Finally Mommy began to feel good about having new adventures here without you. I guess it's because I know in my heart that your little book of adventures is still being filled. Oh man, I can't wait to hear all about them! Mommy knows that one day, hopefully a very long time from now, Daddy and I will hear about and share new adventures with you in your place of paradise. Until then, Mommy will appreciate the joys and adventures that each day brings and know that it's okay to let go in order to do so.
Love you…and miss you sweet girl!