chronic illness, confession, creative, depression, family, food, friendship, gifts, gratitude, home, journey, marriage, parenting, parties

I know it is supposed to be the most wonderful time of year…

 

Holiday baking is this really incredible, magical ideal I have always had. My grandmother was the sort of woman, of her generation, who loved others through the food she made. She canned, preserved, baked and stewed almost 24/7, in one way or another. She believed, to her core, in hard work and I realize looking back that she lived the life of an authentic feminist, just at a time when this was more a way of life and less a mouth driven, man-bashing subculture. That woman truly needed a man for nothing, but had chosen to love one until his death. She was incredible, my grandmother… And the holidays were no exception. Her cookies, (often times colored and pressed, in that vintage way that is all about nostalgia now) her candies, cakes and pies were seamlessly there and ready, dependable and delicious, just like we’d grown up knowing they would be.

My own mother wasn’t much of a baker, or a cook really, but she certainly believed she was. Even now, in her state of dementia, when she begins talking about the days before her illness, she was the cook to beat all cooks. My childhood consisted of lots of microwave dinners, (unevenly heated and disgusting, mind you) bologna sandwiches and then when my step father was around (5-10 days a month) we had real meals. Sometimes my mom cooked them, (if that were the case, a box or can of something was typically ALWAYS involved) and sometimes he grilled them. Cakes involved mixes, eventually cookies involved mixes. She was all about that short-cut cooking which was introduced to America around the same time she was. It makes sense. It wasn’t that she was lazy… The woman painstakingly made chocolates to die for, and they were loved by many, many people, across the nation.

I remember when I learned how to cook, (a sordid and woeful journey, poor Chw…) I was very excited to share with her, my skills. That is how most young girls are. No matter what ill hurts lie between a daughter and her mother, that desire to get her approval is strong. My first big success was lasagna. An elderly woman, who was very dear to my husband, was also the brilliant cook to create his all-time favorite dish and as a wedding gift she was teaching me, from her wheelchair, how to make it. My mother was full of complaints and disgust over my perfected deep dish of love, and I was devastated. This became a theme, really… Mom, look at my new couch! It’s hideous, I’d never own something like that. Mom, I finally perfected a lemon cheesecake. I had thought it would taste way better than this, it’s almost inedible. And on, and on, and on.

And now I sit, at the start of another Christmas season. I have my dutiful little list all written out… What I will bake, and for whom. When. And slowly the dread of doing so, and the self-doubt of why begins to trickle in. Over the past few years I have the same pattern, and though I plan and list otherwise, it will play out the same. The past few years have been the first where I have not had a holiday season filled, to the brim, with friends and family upon which to force my confections. This is far more bitter than sweet for me. This season it is mostly just the two of us, and Chw’s perspective is that of- there is no need to stress yourself out and go to the trouble when it’s just me and I probably won’t eat much of it anyway.

And I am sad.

I always say that I don’t love baking, but I remember loving it. I remember sugar cookies, ornately decorated, every season of my motherhood, until we moved back to Michigan. I remember reveling in my cheesecake masterpieces, creating cakes centered around loved one’s likes- for their birthdays, I remember delving into flaky pastries and pies and tarts and loving it all.

And then nothing.

No new cheesecake adventures, and truly I miss it. I do. But if I were to craft a new cheesecake, half of it would go into the garbage, and that hurts my feelings, though it probably shouldn’t. No cookie exchanges, no holiday parties or gatherings. It is easy to see how the holiday season can become so depressing for people. I look back on the good old days, where holidays were full of love and faces and people, my home always full and people enjoying what I’d made as we conversed and laughed over board games and quality moments. I knew then, that these were the life moments I loved, and how great things were. I remember pausing my life for a micro-second, simply to absorb how great it all felt. I remembered to appreciate it, always. What I never expected was it gone completely, all that is left is the reoccurring holiday list…

cookies

cupcakes

marshmallows

cheesecake

It is doubtful that any of it will get done. The thought of doing it exhausts me, (because, why?) but the thought of not doing it stabs me somewhere gutturally. And I think about these women before me, the holiday sugar journeys and how grateful I am for them. Maybe this season and phase of my life are meant to go in other culinary directions. I am strongly (and overwhelmingly) toying with the idea of tamales. I grew up with the eating of them a Christmas eve tradition. This was also in New Mexico, where everyone you know makes them, and they are readily accessible. I, myself have never made them and I am thinking that, maybe it’s time…

I am also toying with a few other adventurous little recipes to try out, since it is just us. I am both excited and tempted to just stick with doing nothing at all.

What about you? What baking/cooking will you plan to do?

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birthday, chronic illness, confession, entertainment, family, fibro, food, friendship, gifts, gratitude, holiday, home, journey, Lately, list, marriage, parenting

It’s Friday, I’m in love…

Minimal sunlight is streaming through the drawn blinds and my Wonder Woman mug is full, (refilled, mind you) and steaming with the caffeine loaded nectar of the PNW gods, in easy reach. I am curled up on my couch, laptop on lap (isn’t that where it is supposed to be, anyway?) and I am flat-out exhausted.

I’m a little under the weather. (I have been blaming my beautiful daughter in law for sharing her bug, over the holiday, but let’s be honest- I have a chronic illness and am coming down from the craziest month of travel/busyness that I have had in a really long time. It isn’t her fault, but even if it were- it’s a cold… I’ll live.) Yesterday was the first day, since Sunday, that I believed I could actually be a functioning member of the human race. To commemorate the very special occasion I decided to pour my heart and soul into a huge project, and not crawl into bed until nearly five in the morning. Those of you under the ripe old age of 40 are probably thinking yeah, so? But I haven’t been able to successfully pull of such great feats in a very long time. Also, I woke up around 7:45, and crawled out of bed around 8:15… I’m dragging. (There is not enough coffee in all of Michigan to help, I fear.)

At any rate, it’s a good thing I work on my list throughout the week, because otherwise there would simply be five bullet points stating SLEEP, and that’s no fun… (also, this post is covering two weeks, as I was away on Holiday last week)

1.) Scrunchies. The truth is, I have really naturally curly hair. Depending on the weather, temperature, humidity index and whatever mood my fickle hair is in, at any given moment, my hair can look really beautiful. These rare and glorious moments are the ones I dream about. In reality though, unless I’ve had a blowout (which I try to get semi-regularly, just for sanity purposes) my hair is usually a tangled mess of indescribably proportions. My solution to this natural disaster, as anyone who sees me regularly can tell you, is a messy bun. (Lazy hair and I truly don’t care who sees it or how terrible it may look due to the evil baby hairs which frame my face with absolute defiance.) Anyway, (I’m tired and clearly cannot stay on point) over the weekend my daughter acquired a packet of 90’s style hair scrunchies. I thought they were pretty funny and nostalgic. At one point, that evening, a scrunchy was used and the user (I don’t remember who) exclaimed WOW! These are awesome! This gave me pause. Really? Awesome? So, my Friday late night messy bun met a 90’s scrunchy and I think it may be safe to say there is no going back. Ever wondered why I had less tension headaches when I was in high school and under extreme stress and duress, in comparison to adult years? Scrunchies. Every wonder why I still can’t wrap my mind around the amount of hairs which tangle themselves around a hair tie? Scrunchies. In a time when we are surrounded by problems and we simply need solutions, I’m beginning to wonder if a scrunchy may not be the answer. (also, I’m tired. But still, my bun is scrunchied and I have no headache or tension pull, so there ya go.)

2.) Intentional Gifts. I know this probably seems stupid, but hear me out. Anyone who knows me even 3% knows that gift giving/receiving is my primary love language. I am a big fan of The Minimalists. Recently they have challenged that this is not a real love language and I wasn’t sure how I felt about that. I get their point (consumerism, materialism, etc.) but also, I live with my brain/body/soul and know how I feel giving gifts and receiving them. The thing their point did do, however, was challenge me to really introspectively lean in to those thoughts/feelings during the processes. I realized there IS a difference and it has changed the very way I function within the realm of gifts…

Someone VERY special to Chw and I just celebrated her 30th birthday. It was a milestone birthday and we wanted to do something really thoughtful for her. We purchased a couple of small, yet sentimental gifts, but honestly it just did not feel like enough. What do you give someone so vital to you, to celebrate a pretty huge birthday, on a nominal budget? (because without the lack of independent wealth, we would have spent the year traveling with her, and rolling in stacks of money, obviously) We talked, and talked, and talked about this for the better part of a month. Then, a few days before her birthday, we got an idea. We’d make her a playlist of songs from the year she was born… (1987, which we learned was the year we both really blossomed into our love of music and movies, which is pretty cool.) The playlist morphed into one of those 1987 fact sheets to share with our family, in honor of her birthday. This eventually became a game. A 30 part trivia game complete with 1987 inspired commercial breaks, music videos, movie trailers, historical facts and a big bag of 1987 inspired prized. (i.e. SCRUNCHIES) I’ll admit it, we got carried away. (By we, I mean me, though Chw was VERY enthusiastic.) I spent every waking second, for several days, working on this game. And naturally, doubt set in… They would hate it. It’s OLD stuff and they won’t get any of the references (they being a bunch of awesome people, under the age of 30) so when a friend offered to be a test subject, I jumped at it. Halfway through the performance of the Game (it was NOT a smooth run through, you guys) it occurred to me that these friends were our age so this messy run through was very possibly as good as it was going to get. It wasn’t. It was really fun, and it went much smoother, and it was REALLY fun. And she felt loved, and felt special, and it was a memory. This is when I realized that is the whole point of giving a gift. It cost some time, and a few bucks in prizes. In the end it was a chunk of quality time centered around someone very worthy of the effort and we all enjoyed it. Much more meaningful than a “big” dollar purchase, and my gift love bank was full.

3.) Our family Thanksgiving tradition is going to the movies. It’s a little tricky at this phase of familyhood because we’ve got grand-babies and babies don’t love movies, (and most movie goers share the same sentiment regarding babies in movies) but tradition is tradition so some of us went. We chose Coco. Chw felt it might be a little easier on the boys (6, 7 and 11) than Wonder, and I was pretty fine either way. A few times, during the movie, I questioned if maybe this was the WORST choice to see with them. By the end however, I was a sob-filled-blubbering mess absolutely moved and in love with Coco.

4.) Whipped Cream Maker. We’ve actually had it for years. It isn’t anything new to us, but it does sit unused for large amounts of time. And then, Thanksgiving rolls around (PIE!) and melts into the Christmas season (hot chocolate!) and we pull it out and fall in love with the miracle of it, over again. Incidentally, last week my poor husband made a not so tasty batch of whipped cream. This inspired me to get creative with flavors and types. It’s a whole new world up in here… (impromptu hot chocolate and game night, anyone???)

5.) Listening to Christmas music on Vinyl. I love it. I had HIGH hopes of adding this little record to my growing collection (because this album is kind of one of the best), but alas, it is sold out. Sad days… So, I’ll listen to it on Spotify, and my other Christmas records when I’m not.

What about you and your week? What are you loving?

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It’s Friday, I’m in love…

This morning I am sipping Holiday Blend coffee from my Seattle cup. Because I really love these Friday posts, Friday mornings tend to be a time of reflection. Even though it is already the 17th, this is my first Friday post of November. We can blame this on many things… There was lots of traveling, lots and lots of quality time with some of my favorite people, more traveling, more quality time, half a dozen long doctors visits, a conference, quality time with the stranger-as-of-late, whom I share a home with- (this would be Chw, of course, though we had barely seen each other since mid-September!) a week-long battle with a seasonal illness all sprinkled with some work stuff and the menial tasks of adulting…

Over the weeks since my last FIIL post, I have been keeping a list of things to share with you! Full disclosure, however, what tops the list (and is not super sharable via links anyway) is getting to spend time with my son, his wife and their beautiful baby girl. (You guys, she has the best head of silky curls, and so much personality and so many expressions, and she is so smart and funny and amazing…)

This will top all of this lists, all of the time…

Now that I have made my position on the matter pretty clear, here are the things I’m loving this week…

1.) Coffee! This is also a huge relief to me. You see, people in the midwest just don’t get it. They may be trained, and know things to the best of their abilities (generalization… I am sure some people do get it, just not the ones I usually encounter.) The PNW gets it. While they may not have invented coffee or the many delectable drinks one can whip up, with coffee, the PNW really is responsible for this bliss being such a part of American culture. (note: NO, I do not give Starbucks all of the credit. In the midwest, Starbucks is kind of the IT thing. And I get it, I love a good Starbucks drink as much as the next person, BUT there, well- Starbucks isn’t the IT thing. It’s the sheep thing, and for anyone else who just wants an awesome coffee, there are TONS of other options.) Anyway, this is quickly becoming a coffee post and that isn’t my intention. Let’s not squabble over Starbucks, ok?

While I was home I had coffee from all of my favorite Idaho places, and it was heaven. (I was also really, really caffeinated.) Coming home, I shipped some beans from my favorite Boise coffee roaster, (which is tragically lost in the mail forever, I’m afraid, along with about $200 of other things… BOO) When the crushing reality that I was out of my Storyville coffee (favorite coffee EVER) and my Dawson Taylor coffee was lost in the mail (forever), my husband consoled me with the news that Starbucks Holiday Blend was now out! What?!?! This is, in our (And many other people’s) opinion, this is the only really palatable Starbucks coffee. Christmas angels rang out their Hallelujahs and all was right with the world… (Minus the previously mentioned illness, the husband’s back injury, the bitter cold weather, etc…) But, you guys… Then something even more wonderful happened! Storyville sent an email about a free shipping promotion (LoveEverybody is the code, what are you waiting for??? AMAZING Coffee AND it supports a good cause!) Since I hadn’t been able to get in there and stock up, while I was in Washington, this was amazing news! (plus, lets face it, it would just have been lost in the black hole of the US postal service anyway.)

2.) My awesome friend (who I love so dearly and miss already!!! You know who you are… COME TO MICHIGAN!!!) showed me this amazing weather app called What The Forecast?. Here’s the thing, weather typically sucks, right? And we all kinda want to complain about it, and complaining about it only makes us (or me) feel crappier. But what if you had a weather app that complained about the forecast for you, and in such a negatively funny way that you looked at the forecast and then LAUGHED with joy, AND THEN reached out to share that laugh with someone you love, (you may not do that, but I do. All of the time, because it is seriously super funny) pretty genius right? This app is fantastic! (and so accurate re: the forecast AND the sentiment.) (**IF you find yourself offended by things like the general use of profanity than good news! You can have the app edited to state the same funny things, but in a less crude way, profanity free!)

3.) Flying has changed a lot. This was my first time flying in a decade, and to celebrate I decided to fly on five planes over the span of 15 days. (Bold move, I know.) Security is a nightmare (seriously, EVERY TIME… And depending on the airport, such things as Essential Oil cough drops or a cut out in a dress may be seen as contraband and HIGHLY threatening.) After I was in Washington I stumbled upon an article about a Michigan man who had SEVERAL guns and ammo in his carry on. Naturally they found him and naturally he was arrested. Rumor has it, it was a bigger terror plot. Here’s my question though, what the heck size of cajones do you have to think those things will simply slip by? Had he also not flown in a decade? THEY CHECK, SCAN, SWIPE and XRAY EVERYTHING. My bag was hand searched every time. I was put in what is equivalent to an airport time out for COUGH DROPS. Every inch of my body was shown more affection that a stranger has ever had the privilege, in both Detroit and Seattle. (I wanted to find the article and link it for your reading pleasure, but what I found instead were 4 separate instances of other people with impossibly large cajones attempting the same stupid thing- SINCE JULY. I mean, what the? I wouldn’t even attempt fingernail clippers, I was so nervous about it.)

That rant aside, Flying has changed a lot. I was able to track my flight on the tv screen in front of me. My bag texted me when it was safely on the plane, when it securely made my connection and when it was safely off the plan. After the luggage nightmare I had in 2006 in LA, this is the most geniusly wonderful thing in the history of travel- EVER. You get real snacks (Kind bar please, no nuts for me), have the option to purchase meals AND free wifi to Imessage (or FB message) til your hearts content. All in all, well worth the molestation and need to re-pack (over and over again) when awesome people are waiting for you on the other side.

4.) Catstudio is SUPER fun! Specifically THESE. (I want so, so badly, to have four of them.) I’ve seen them in person, and they are amazing!

5.) Christmas movies! (I know that was the topic of my last post, but seriously… It’s Christmas time!) The movies I’m referring to are the two Christmas movies currently in the theater. (Both parentally themed, oddly enough.) The first one being Daddy’s Home 2. I loved Daddy’s Home and was super cautious of this one because, well, it’s a sequel AND Mel Gibson is in it. (I found myself screaming, why??? Why???? when I first saw the announcement.) I had minimal expectations (which might be the best way to go in to any movie) and I absolutely loved it. I mean, LOVED IT! We laughed so hard, and the funny thing about Mel Gibson’s character (in the movie) is that he just sucks and everyone accepts it. (#typecast ???) It was endearing and funny (SO FUNNY) and we had a great time! The second one is Bad Mom’s Christmas. (I am going to stop right here and say that I realize I have some readers who fall on the more conservative spectrum of things and that is totally ok. TOTALLY. I absolutely respect that conviction. So, those of you who are there- this movie isn’t for you.) I saw it in Boise with my bestie and, honestly, I was really disappointed. It had some funny parts, but the one thing I CANNOT stand being used in entertainment is little kids using BIG profanity. I just can’t… And since this happened at the very start of the movie, I think I was just irritated for the rest of it. Once I was back home and settled, I kept seeing trailers for it and remembering not only the really funny stuff but also the pretty deep point of the gigantically emphasized caricatures of the storyline too. Chw had really liked the first one and had really wanted to see the second one, (I would have known this had we not been separated by thousands of miles of ocean and land for two months) and so after a really stress filled day of hospitals and annoying doctors, (so many doctors) we went to see it. Knowing the big evil was there, (you know, the kid/profanity bit) I was able to really enjoy the movie and it was still so very, very funny.

So, I guess it isn’t super terrible that it’s a lengthier post, since it’s representing an entire month, right? But now what should you do, after investing the time in this novella? You should go buy some Storyville coffee (you will not be sorry!) and then enter my Christmas giveaway!

beautiful, creative, entertainment, family, gifts, gratitude, holiday, home, journey, parenting

My first Christmas Gift, of the season…

My heart is all a flutter these days as darkness blankets the world earlier and twinkly Christmas decorations span the city streets. Part of my adult heart still feels a bit surprised when evening brings such Christmas magic to life. Isn’t adulthood kind of like that? Each holiday season seeming to approach sooner, and never seeming to hold quite enough of those peaceful, magic-filled moments we crave… Maybe it’s just me. (It isn’t though, right???)

Being a movie lover, and a Christmas lover (Christmas itself and not the consumer induced frenzy of chaos and clutter that seems to misrepresent the season, anyway) I find that movies really do act as the glue which binds my season together. For roughly forty-six weeks of the year I am a pretty critical film watcher, with fairly high standards, but come early November I melt into that girl who loves nothing more than spending a snowy afternoon or at-home-evening in front of the fireplace with a Hallmark Christmas Movie on TV and a cup of something deliciously warm and comforting in hand. Sure, its cliche. I’m pretty ok with that. These are among the rare moments I have ever shared with my mother. This is the very description of many a Christmas season moments in our home, once my motherhood was the route of my journey. Of course though, Hallmark is not the only source of Christmas movies which hold my heart… I love so many, from the really funny ones (Christmas Vacation, Elf, Surviving Christmas, A Christmas Story) to the heart-layered-lovely ones (Step Mom, The Family Stone, The Holiday) and so many beautiful classics (Miracle on 34th st, Meet Me in St. Louis, The Bishop’s Wife)… Many of these fall on my must watch every year list, which naturally inspires one to wonder: does this girl do anything other than watch Christmas movies in November/December??? The answer to this, naturally, is sort of… They are almost always on, in the background. Sometimes I focus on them, sometimes they simply go about their two-hour time period bringing comfort, like an old friend, while I go about a work project, gift wrapping, card signing, baking, or mundane household chores.

If I am being honest though, I’d have to admit that my all time favorite Christmas movie is It’s a Wonderful Life. This Christmas is finding me at 41 years old. For as long as I can remember, my holiday seasons have held this movie as a part of life’s festivities. It never grows old and I somehow still manage to cry and draw kernels of wisdom and truth from George’s story, despite the fact that every inch of it is already stitched into my heart. Though Michigan may not be my favorite leg of this life’s journey, one thing I truly love is at Christmas time when we bundle up (because the weather here is usually pretty rocky on this day, and Ann Arbor seems to intensify the rockiness of the weather) and head to the Historic Michigan Theater for a Sunday December afternoon showing of It’s a Wonderful Life. The seats are snug and tiny, and every inch of our surroundings are rich with history and family sharing millions of moments just life the one we’re partaking in. The theater has both warm popcorn and beverages, and proceeding the film there is a jolly man playing the best of all fun Holiday jingles on a larger-than-life pipe organ. When ever I think of Christmas and the bits I truly love, this one always illuminates my mind first. The entire afternoon is sheer perfection.

I love my old school, time-honored favorites. I am a sucker for the new Christmas movies too. There are already two out, and I’ve seen them both. (Like I said, I am pretty die-hard about this whole Christmas movie thing. Speaking of Die Hard– ALSO a Christmas movie I love! ) The movie I am REALLY looking forward to this season is The Man Who Invented Christmas. (Fun fact sidenote: I also read A Christmas Carol every December)

The Man Who Invented Christmas tells the magical journey that led to the creation of Ebenezer Scrooge (Christopher Plummer), Tiny Tim and other classic characters from A Christmas Carol. Directed by Bharat Nalluri (Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day), the film shows how Charles Dickens (Dan Stevens) mixed real life inspirations with his vivid imagination to conjure up unforgettable characters and a timeless tale, forever changing the holiday season into the celebration we know today.

 

THE MAN WHO INVENTED CHRISTMAS releases in theaters on November 22.

As if it isn’t exciting enough, I also have a behind the scenes featurette to share!

So tell me, are you feeling in the mood for Christmas yet? Well… I have a little Christmas giveaway to add to the spirit. I would love to give one of you a Christmas movie DVD pack. I’m leaving the title’s a secret, BUT to make it fun- I will tell you that each of the three films has some significant tie to this movie The Man Who Invented Christmas! Intriguing, right? Entries end at Midnight Thanksgiving day!

To enter to win this awesome little package all you have to do is leave a comment RIGHT HERE, about your favorite Christmas movie. That’s it. (and yes, Hallmark movies COUNT! They totally do!)

entertainment, family, parenting

Goodbye, Christopher Robin…

Many who frequent here are aware that I spent the better part of a decade as a film critic. It was really an amazing experience and awarded me many really cool opportunities. Criticizing for a living also has this way of leaving one jaded. I walked away from the job when I realized I had lost my ability to simply enjoy a movie. Some habits die-hard, but I believe I am a lot more tolerable to watch movies with now, than I had become at one time. You’d have to ask my husband to know for sure…

It’s pretty rare that I step up, when asked, to review a film. I’ve found that, for me personally, I go into it with a certain level of expectation. I have a list of things to look for, this white glove test is an intense one, I’m afraid.

I have been waiting a really long time to see Goodbye, Christopher Robin. Like every other girl of the early 90’s time frame, I have a strong affinity for Classic Pooh. (yes I did spend my 23rd birthday in a Disney Store issues Classic Pooh denim jumper, and no, it was not my only type of Classic Pooh clothing.  shut up…) The trailers sold this film as so heartwarming, at least that is how I perceived it. And maybe, maybe I’m not really the most impartial person to criticize this movie. The truth is, there were things I genuinely LOVED about this movie…

And there were things I absolutely detested.

I loved that, as that Classic Pooh loving place in my heart would swell and sigh, this film is visually stunning! There are so many images taken straight out of the beloved illustrations. (Perhaps I would be much more in favor of this visually beautiful film if it were silent, minus some gorgeous music playing over the course of these images.) There are some genuinely comical moments and, for the most part, the acting is good. Nearly everything else, for me, would be a negative. I feel as though my love of such an ironically classic childhood treasure has been unknowingly a supportive party to something tragically dark and terrible. It is, in this way, that the title of the film haunts me all the more. Goodbye, Christopher Robin. Goodbye, innocent love of the beloved characters and the hundred acre wood.

Alan “Blue” Milne (Domhnall Gleeson) is a fairly successful play write, returning from the war zone known as WWI. Suffering with immense PTSD, it seems as though some amount of pressure falls upon his wife Daphne, (Margo Robbie) to pull him out of the dark places and make him successful once again. It is in this way that the two come to be parents of Billy Moon, whose Christian name is Christopher Robin. It is all lovely and beautiful until around this point. Soon enough, the beloved nanny, (played impeccably by Kelly Macdonald) arrives on the scene. It is, sadly, only thanks to her that sweet little Billy/Christopher Robin grows up knowing any love at all. As an adoptive parent of kids who have been deeply wounded by the self-centered abuses and negligence of birth parents, I find myself very sensitive to such themes. While our sweet boy is never actually abused, he is beyond neglected by his parents. His mother, from my perspective, only ever seems interested in the fun bits of motherhood spotlighting her, while her real focus is on position, fame, glamour, money and attention. His father, for one brief and beautiful season, allows himself to surrender and lose himself in the enjoyment of time and adventure with his son. It is from this very incredible time that our stories are born. Sadly, his effort at Fatherhood ends here, and no one realizes any of this until our sweet boy is a man gone off to fight a war against Hitler. This interim, for Christopher Robin is, often times, nothing short of hellish and isolating.

As I sit here, however, I have to admit that although this story is tragic, depressing and has potentially robbed me of something sweet and precious, it is not the film’s fault. This movie simply depicts the true story of a damaged man, his selfish wife, and how these things affected their son. And maybe that is where the magic potentially lives. Not one of us are a perfect spouse or parent. Not one of us hasn’t been responsible for a wound in the life of a child. As terribly sad and ugly as this background is, the happiness and love that stems from the pages of A.A. Milne’s beloved Pooh bear, and the very reaching effects it has had must count for something.

Did I love this movie? I did.

Did I hate it? I did.

It is complicated and confusing. It is a beautiful and thoughtfully filmed piece of art about a tragically sad and little known story.

It is honest.