Just finished watching a lovely movie called "Everybody's fine". It has great actors like Robert De Niro, Drew Barrymore, etc. Pretty simple story of a widower father living in a small town in America all by himself, his four children spread all over the country. He sets off to give them a surprise visit when they fail to appear for a pre-scheduled holiday. The storyline then moves through his children's lives, some untruth, some tragedy, some re-union, his illness, his coming face to face with the kind of father he has been to them, re-visiting the moments that could have been ....
I felt very moved while watching the movie - identified a lot with the father in the movie especially when one of his daughters asked him about his ambition in life and he responded saying "I just wanted to be a good father, that's all". His realisation of moments lost with his wife and children and what could have been and how those moments can never come back and how what is lost is lost for ever. Yet he does not break down, does not turn bitter, looks at life squarely in the eye, and earnestly admits that "ultimately one has to say that everyone's fine".
I identified with the pathos of aging, of being lonely, of lost moments, of continuing to hold the children as little ones even when they are in their twenties and thirties, of a desperate attempt to see them happy and fulfilled and not quite knowing what could have been the right action that one could have taken as a parent ... that in a way, all that one can do is to stand afar, watch and just be there in case they need you to be there for them. I identified with the intense longing of seeing their faces, to spend time with them, to hold them tightly just as one did when they were little, to offer the best nourishment so that they are taken care of, to see the smile and laughter on their faces and to feel good that all is well with the world - and at the same time, to recognise that they have grown up, that they will have to take care of themselves no matter what, that in their lives the priorities have changed, that they need their own space and time, that togetherness is at a premium now - so unlike the past.
I also identified with accepting what life has to offer on face value and not grudging it, not fighting it, not praising it, not bowing down to it, but simply accepting that this is what life has been and if changes need to be made, they can be made from the moment that is now, and not in the past.
Tears rolled down my cheeks even after the movie was over and my daughter kept asking me why was I crying as she thought the movie was a nice feel good movie! I just could not explain to her about how I felt towards the father in the movie or the world of parents. I hope she would understand one day as and when she decides to become one.
Till then darling, I can say to her, like most parents, I too would be waiting for you in your heart, for you to come back home, whenever you need me.