I went to see ‘My Sister’s Keeper’ last night, by myself, at the cinema – what a treat! Although it was somewhat distant from Jodi Picoult’s original book, sweetened and simplified for film goers, I did enjoy it in the having-a-good-cry kind of way. While I was wiping my tears away and hoping that no-one would notice, there was a chorus of sniffs from around the theatre.
One of the things that pulled my heart-strings was the nature of the mother, effectively played by Cameron Diaz. I found it hard to be sympathetic to her, despite the agony of her having a dying child, because she did not mother her other children very well, but at the same time I found myself wondering: ‘Am I like that?’ I don’t have such an extreme circumstances within my own family, but do I get the distribution of energy, attention, interest and money, balanced correctly between my children. Do I hear them? Do I trust them? How much of our life together is played out to my agenda?
Another mother to whom I compare myself is the Robbie, Peter and Phil’s mother in ‘The Railway Children.’ She is calm and stoical, so much so that her children know something is badly wrong when they suspect that she may be crying. My children know that tears may mean that I’ve stubbed my toe or I’m fed up with the housework and I blub my eyes out at the end of ‘Apollo 13’ every time. She is uncomplaining, gracious and writes for a living. I struggle when sharing a packet of chocolates with my child not to sneak a few extra when he’s not looking! I resent missing something I want to do to see my child in a end of term celebration. I don’t earn a penny.
In my favour, I guess, is the fact that my children aren’t out playing on a railway line all day!