I have a system for when I’m driving my children around. This system is born out of an event that I didn’t really talk about much at the time – a serious car accident from about 3 ½ years ago when I was 37 weeks pregnant and was also distracted by my eldest and her cries for candy.
No matter how long the drive is, I put on a movie in the car. The children are distracted, which means that I am not and it allows for an overall safer driving experience for everyone.
The other part of this system is that I’ll keep the same movie in the DVD player for several weeks until I’m sick to death of the movie.
Recently the movie was the Disney Pixar film Up. Over the course of several weeks, I had to chance to reflect on Carl and Ellie’s relationship through the Married Life montage. There are a lot of things I appreciate about their relationship, and even though the montage describes marriage I think there are pieces portrayed that reflect any successful relationship.
Starting on Day 1 of Carl and Ellie’s formal relationship (fans will know they were childhood friends) they dive right into what needs to get done without regard for whether it’s the right time or not. Wedding clothes on they embark on the lengthy mission of making their house livable.
They demonstrate a commitment to serving each other – making sure the easy chair of the other person is in the optimal spot, their mailbox reflects the personalities of the people who live in the house and working together to paint the nursery.
And finally, when they face devastating news together and one person feels lost the other makes sure they are seen. Despite, or perhaps because of, the lack of dialogue through the montage it is clear to us how devastating it is to both of them that a child will not be joining their family. Ellie seems to fade into invisibility – a feeling many of us know all too well – and Carl shows that he sees her, values the woman that she is, and reminds her of who she was before.
When it gets right down to it, relationships are hard. Making time for them and making time for yourself can feel impossible, but it’s also well worth the effort.