Saturday, January 07, 2012

you've got to grind, grind, grind at that grindstone

"A man has dreams of walking with giants
To carve his niche in the edifice of time
You've got to grind, grind, grind
At that grindstone
Though child'ood slips like sand through a sieve
And all too soon they've up grown
And then they've flown
And it's too late for you to give
Just that spoonful of sugar
To 'elp the medicine go down
The medicine go down, the medicine go down"
- A Man Has Dreams (highly abridged) from Mary Poppins

When I was little, Mary Poppins came out of the Disney Vault and was released on VHS (that was how we watched our movies). This was, in my family, a huge deal: it was my Nanna's favourite movie and she'd never been able to actually own it.

This movie takes me back to their cottage, with the huge open concept kitchen/living room/dining room from way back before open concept was cool. I heard stories of how they built the cottage, after tearing down the old one, on land that had been in our family for oh, six generations at least. Currently my aunt and uncle own it, although if I were ever in the position of owning a vacation home I'd buy it. My Poppa's brother and sister also each owned a cottage (or in at least one case, a virtual mansion) on the side of the same lake.

Today, Mary Poppins was playing on Bravo, so I figured what the hey, nothing better is on so I'll watch that. I didn't realize I had such strong memories associated with it.

This movie brings me back to vividly to bridge at the dining room table, roaring fires, concrete stairs leading to a pebble beach and the most massive boulder. Weekends spent building decks (front and back), seeing the house from a little aluminium boat on the lake. It reminds me of fish fry breakfasts, eggs cooked in bacon grease, and more family just down the road.  Falling asleep to sound of water.

And that song, that song exemplifies why Bunny quit the fancy design job last summer to go be a mechanic. That's not how we want to live our lives: there will be no grind, grind, grinding at that grindstone to the detriment of our family life. Because childhood does so quickly slip away and it's such a magical time. We are quite decided that we want to spend that time on our own lives.

A job is a great thing. A career that is intellectually stimulating, socially engaging and satisfying in and of itself is a wonderful thing. To me, at least, a career does not make a life. A career is what allows for the rest of it.

Giving our future children memories like those. Different movies, I'm sure, but one day, I hope that my children and grandchildren put Stardust or Contact on as adults and are overcome by memories of their family and their childhood that make a little part of them ache with longing to go back (in the best way).

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