A good friend of mine has been telling me for months to watch a movie that was released in 1996. It is called Mother starring Albert Brooks and Debbie Reynolds. I finally got around to watching it on Netflix yesterday.
For those of you who weren’t born yet, or are too old to remember, the premise of the movie is this:
Two grown sons have a rather unhealthy relationship with their mother. The older son (Brooks) is an author of several books who has unhealthy relationships with women in general. He blames his mother for this and, consequently, is at odds with her. Determined to learn why he and ‘mom’ are always fighting, he moves back home, recreates his teenage bedroom and spends all of his time with her to get to know his mother better.
More than halfway through the movie he finds several boxes of short stories that his mother had written in her youth. He sits on his bed and begins to read them. When she comes home and sees him reading her personal works, she becomes very angry with him. He can’t understand why she is so upset, and she can’t understand why he is even interested in reading something from so long ago.
It is when he says, “Mother, I never knew you liked to write. I never knew you had this creative side”, that the movie becomes really interesting to me. This is mostly because I spend so much time thinking about what makes us ‘tick’. In other words, why do we act the way we do and make the choices we do. The biggest impact on me was when the mother said to her son, “I had a life before you; I had dreams of what I wanted to be.” This prompted me to think about the goals and dreams many of us put aside to raise a family and handle all of life’s demands.
The son begins to realize that his mother has built up resentments toward him because he lived his dream and she didn’t live hers. In a very emotional and heartwarming way, he holds her hand and expresses his discovery to her. She then gives him a loving look and says, “You are right, dear.” Big Hug for them; lots of tissues for me.
In the last scene:
He packs up his belongings and goes back to his life feeling satisfied that he has a better understanding of his mother, their relationship and himself. We see him get into his car, and we see the mother sit down at the word processor (remember this was 1996), with a smile on her face as she once again begins to write.
The take-away: The third chapter of your life is as important as the first two. Don’t just walk through it. You were someone before you became a parent, and you are someone after your children have leave the nest. Live each day with purpose, passion and joy! No matter what your age, you have much to live, experience and learn!
My book, 12 Ways To Discover What Makes You Tick is filled with practical exercises and suggestions regarding growth through awareness of how and why we react the way we do. This in turn helps us make healthier changes that will ultimately give us the perspective needed to improve interpersonal relationships. There is much to gain and little to lose.
You can buy the printed or e-book version by clicking this link, http://amzn.to/1T2u4sr
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