She loved movies.
It was what we did- movies. Seventy-five percent of our family vernacular was made up of movie quotes (“A poodle. A noodle. A doodle.” or “Where’s the Tylenol?”) and I think all of our inside jokes were actually just lines from Coen brothers films. (“Turn to the right. Turn to the right.” and “We thought. you was. a toad.”).
I always just kinda thought Mom loved movies so much because she liked to escape her ordinary-mundane-run-of-the-mill life. But then I really stopped to think about the movies she loved. They weren’t sci-fi, they weren’t fairy tales, fantasies or horror. They were just stories about people who seemed real. People I might think of as having ordinary-mundane-run-of-the-mill lives. And if there were fantastical parts within, well, those were the minutes she went to the kitchen to refill her tea.
So, when I think about it now, it wasn’t that Mom wanted to escape the life she had, it’s that she loved seeing it celebrated for everything it was, for everything each human life is. That life is comedy, tragedy, and everything in between. That it’s happiness, loss, victory and failure. That it’s loving and that it’s leaving, too. The highest highs, the lowest lows and the special in-betweens. All the same elements that make a good film.
I don’t think of the end credits as having been run for Mom yet. Her movie is still playing in the laugh lines near my father’s eyes, in my brother’s kind heart, in my love of stories. In the features of her family and the memories of her friends.
Mom remains the star in a story that’s still being written.