Who knew I'd be Glenn Close???

Movies have always been a backdrop for my view of the world. Recently when I watched The Big Chill I felt rather pathetic. Of the characters depicted in the film, I thought my life most resembled my least favorite character, Karen (the stay-at-home Mom who has sex with the movie star in the yard). Everyone else seemed to be bound to their professional destiny, even if it is dealing drugs, while she was most defined by her relationship with men. Her husband, her lover and her kids, but maybe not in that order.  In her most memorable line of the film she chastises William Hurt's character exactly as a mother tries to shame her child. I speak to my kids like that all the time.

When I first saw this film way back in the day, I thought the characters were all really old (when did I actually get to be older than them?!). I assumed I would be most like the Meg-character (played by Mary Kate Jones, who I just realized is in Big Love). Meg chose an exciting career, first begun as social activism, then later turned to capital-infused greed and more or less forgot to have kids, ending up scrambling to have a baby without a partner, still unusual in 1983. I thought I was most like her because back in the day I doubted anyone would marry me, but I knew I was smart enough for any career.

But this weekend I was definitely Glenn Close. She balanced the weekends chaos - the "beautiful funeral" and a household of surprise guests - only to save her grief to private moments in the shower. I didn't cry in the shower (I had no reason to) but I seemed to handle whatever life threw at me. A 3-year-old who wouldn't leave my dog alone (I was petrified Diego would finally bite the kids who constantly wanted to pet, poke and pull him), a TV remote that wouldn't work when the kids needed a breather, a teary pre-teen daughter needing consolation, unexpected dinner changes, coffee that was too strong, driving to the shore in 3 cars through what New Jerseyites would call light traffic, but Western New Yorkers found daunting - no matter what the traffic, it's hard to drive the Garden State Parkway together - and dealing with the near 10,000 requests for drinks and snacks for children in all age groups. Did I say we had 4 adults and 7 kids staying with us - that makes a weekend household of 15.

And I realized that even though that professionally my life so far hasn't developed into one where I am the physician married to a rich business owner with multiple dwellings, I do share several positive attributes with ALL the characters of the show.

Life isn't a movie. We aren't characters written to typify a personality-type. We can ebb and flow. We adopt various aspects of personality by choice or necessity. Right now, on this Monday morning when I am cleaning up the mess, and making a mental list of what to get my family at the grocery store, I realize that I seem more like the loathsome (for me) Karen than Meg.

But that's OK. Later today I will be like Kevin Kline - and that's a good thing. Running in my New Balance sneakers. That's an unexpected development in my character, for I never liked to run in the 1980s. As long as I don't start to look like Jeff Goldblum, or am similar to the main character, whom you never see, (Alex) it's all good!


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