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Poppy Thanks in part to my Facebook friends, I did not go see The Time Traveler’s Wife. I loved the book. This means, I know, that I should preserve that sentiment and not see the movie. The problem is that I love movies. I mean I LOVE them. So often times that trumps all reason and off I go.  But last night, I resisted. And I’m glad.

Josh and I watched Happy Go Lucky. I was thinking it would be a love story like Amalie, only less stylized and more formulaic. I was wrong. The love story aspect was only one small piece. It had a lot to do with love, though. Loving life. I asked Josh, “What do you think that movie was about?” He goes, “It was about that girl. That scene where Poppy (the main character, in that photo to the left she’s learning the Flamenco) goes to see her big sister.” The sister character is severe, controlling, and pregnant. The sister tells Poppy (she’s 30) that she needs to grow up, get a mortgage, and find someone to have babies with. Poppy laughs and smiles as she does throughout the entire movie and says something to the effect of “I’m happy, I’m lucky, I enjoy my freedom.” And she does. But what I really liked about  this character is that she faces head on the difficulties and harshness of life (caring for and helping one of her students who’s a bully, engaging in a delicate conversation with a homeless crazy man, confronting her violent driving instructor). These things clearly weigh on her, even endanger her, and she still chooses happiness.

I felt the same way about Julia Child in the movie Julie and Julia. My favorite moment in that movie was when Julia Child is reading a letter aloud to her husband. It’s from her sister and she tells Julia that she’s pregnant. Julia begins to cry and it’s clear how much she wishes she could have had babies, yet through her noisy crying she’s saying how happy she is for her sister while her husband comforts her. Again, fighting to choose the happiness in life.

These kinds of characters are so lovable to me and they make me want to be a better person. I relate so much.  Happiness is hard to get a handle on long-term. It’s slippery or something. Josh and I have often have a conversation that goes like this:

Josh: Are you happy in life?

Me: (quickly because I’m happy to being paid attention at that moment) Yeah. Are you?

Josh: (slowly because he’s deep like that) That’s such a hard question.

And then I think, man, our kids are going to be so confused. Well, today, Magnolia was listening to our conversation about the Happy Go Lucky movie. (She’s eight.) And as Josh was talking about how Poppy loved life, Magnolia said, “When I think about death, I love my life.” I was like, um, holy crap I don’t know what to say to that. So I just nodded and said, “That’s good.” I don’t think she’s confused at all. And if you ask anyone that knows us, I bet they’d say she’s the happiest one in the family. They’d be right.