When the going get tough, the tough go to the movies. That's always been my theory anyway, and it's proved workable at many different points in my life.
Take my twenties, for instance. I moved to Denver pretty much straight out of college. I got involved in a church and established a really fun circle of friends- people to eat with and hike with and see on weekends. But then those friends started getting married. And I wasn't. Most of the time I was ok with that.
But then, there were times when the loneliness closed in. And then, I did what any thinking person does. I went to the movies. I would buy a box of bad for you movie popcorn and a drink (or sometimes I'd sneak in my own) and settle into for a couple of hours at a dark theater. For two hours, I'd forget my quiet house, the nights of Lean Cuisine, and my longing for companionship-- and I would settle in to somebody else's life or story. And when the lights came back on, I was good to go again.
Fast forward ten years. The summer I adopted the boys was full of adjustments, for them and for me. The boys had been through a lot, and they had lots to overcome. Like most new mothers, I was exhausted, most of the time. My independent do what I want when I want lifestyle had been totally altered. Gone were the days of author readings at the Tattered Cover and Tuesday hikes with my home gals. I didn't have a lot of backup. I couldn't take a nap because there was no one to watch my two very busy guys.
So I did what any thinking mom would do. I took them to the movies. I would buy them their box of $4 candy (I know, horribly unthrifty of me) and for two hours, they would be entertained. And me, well during those two hours, I'm ashamed to admit, I often dozed off a little, ok, sometimes from the opening scene to the credits, but…). For years, I thought I was fooling the boys-- until finally, when Son #1 was about 13 he asked me why I always bought a ticket, when all I did was sleep anyway!
Fast forward ten more years… this has been, so far, a long hot summer. neither of the boys has jobs. Son #1 is in what I'm told is a common push me/pull me, "I'm a man, I can do it myself, I don't need you to tell me what to do, no wait, I need you to …" routine. Pretty much every day he tells me that he is leaving and will not be back for two years, not even for Christmas, and that I will not hear from him, and I better not call. He breaks my mama's heart. Son #2 is having a really hard time with life in in general. His brother/best friend is leaving for two years. A girl that he has cared about deeply (and now insists he doesn't, although my mama's eyes tell me different) is leaving for college. He made some really poor choices in school and is now facing the consequences. It is not a lot of fun living with him.
And so, I make the only obvious choice. I go to the movies. A couple of times a week, when my patience has reached it's absolute breaking point, when I can't stand one more minute of nasty teenagers, or a just cleaned already messy house, I simply leave. And I go to the movies. For two hours, I slip away into someone else's world- this summer I've been to India, the bayous of Louisiana, and last night, a small island in New England. Better yet, this summer, I have discovered a new theater. It costs $3 more than a regular theater, BUT (and here's the hook for me!) the popcorn and soda are FREE! So actually I save about $6 or $8 every time I go.