I saw Julie & Julia recently. Before I’d seen it, several people told me I needed to see it, and that the movie reminded them of me. I don’t know what exactly about the movie reminded each person of me, but nevertheless I was intrigued. Now, as you can probably imagine, as a woman with 4 small kids, I don’t really get to the movie theater much these days. Pretty much if it’s not available to watch on Netflix’s Instant Streaming feature, I haven’t seen it. A few opportunities to see the flick passed me by, so I simply resolved that I would eventually watch it once it came out on Netflix.
So back in December I went on what was supposed to be a 4-day cruise. It was fabulous. But then on the day of supposed debarkation, we woke up to find ourselves parked in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico surrounded by a thick as molasses blanket of fog. So our 4-day cruise turned into a 5-day cruise. Now before you start rolling your eyes and thinking to yourselves “Awww, poor babies,” we were, at that point ready to go home and be with our husbands and our kids. At that point in the trip, I was incredibly thankful that I was in fact married to a dude, as I had tolerated as much estrogen concentration as I could possibly handle.
Enter Julie & Julia. The cruise director announced during breakfast that they would be playing movies in the Universe Lounge (a Vegas-style “show” room, where we’d witnessed a brutal massacring Beatles’ tunes which appeared to be performed by high school students just the night before. I believe they were trying to keep the captives entertained in an effort to prevent us from all going stir-crazy. We were elated: Julie & Julia would definitely be a step-up from the Beatles review. I would finally get to see the movie that everyone had recommended to me.
Once the movie started, I was immediately taken in. Meryl Streep is utterly brilliant as Julia Child, for whom I must say I’ve always had a soft spot. As a 6-year old, I used to watch episodes of “The French Chef” with Julia and “Louisiana Cookin’” with Justawn Wilsawn on our one available channel on a military base in Germany. You see, I come from a family who loves to cook. All my memories of my paternal grandmother, who was from Malta, were of her standing in the kitchen. In fact, I don’t remember her ever entering any other part of her house. My dad followed in her footsteps. He even taught my mom how to cook. And I am proud to say that each one of my siblings is a fearless artist in the kitchen. These are my humble beginnings as a foodie. I love food. I love to eat. I love to cook. Food is a passion. Cooking is therapeutic. I already loved the movie before I’d ever even seen it. Similarity #1.
Then you’ve got Julie Powell played by Amy Adams (you probably know her as Giselle from “Enchanted”). A 30-something young wife who finds herself in New York City living with her husband in a cramped apartment above a pizzeria. We find her working as a frustrated secretary in a cubicle, whose passions include cooking and writing. Similarity #2.
In summary, she decides to embark on a project that involves cooking through Julia Child’s famous cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking in a year as she blogs about it. 536 recipes in 365 days. Then she gets a book deal, becomes famous, and they make a movie out of her story starring the most insanely talented actress of all time. Yeah, that’s not really a similarity.
Needless to say, I loved the movie. In fact, I loved it so much and talked endlessly about it to my husband when I came back home that he bought me the DVD for Christmas. Yet, I haven’t even touched on my favorite aspect of this story. The movie was about two women, but it was equally about the men in their lives who stood by them and helped them achieve success–their husbands. These women were married to loving, kind, supportive, and dedicated husbands–Julia to Paul and Julie to Eric– who, it could be argued, were the driving forces behind each woman’s success. The movie was incredibly pro marriage. Had it not been for their husbands, we probably wouldn’t even know who Julie & Julia are. Don’t get me wrong. These weren’t “she wears the pants” kinds of relationships. Both marriages were healthy, loving, stable, communicative, intimate…Equal. They moved when their husbands jobs required them to, even if it meant sacrificing comfort and giving up lives that they loved. They moved as a unit. One. They functioned together. They were a team. It was incredibly beautiful to watch.
You might say it was a recipe consisting of 1 woman who hadn’t seen her husband in 5 days, mixed together with a dash of estrogen overload. Yet, as I watched these men dedicate themselves so fearlessly to their wives, I realized that that’s exactly what I have. I married a man who absolutely loves seeing people become everything they were meant to be. At times, his ambition and his fearless optimism drive me absolutely nuts. But then again, I honestly can’t imagine living without them. Today, I love the person that I’ve become. And I would have to say that 85% of that is because of Ren Buckland. The man is a visionary. He believes in me. He believes in people. His hope is endless. He pushes me to become who God created me to be. Even when it’s not convenient for him or me. He is patient when I am feisty. He is calm when I go crazy. He is sweet when I am…not. He listens to me. And he loves me. He is dedicated. He is faithful. He is gentle. He is kind. He’s selfless. He doesn’t demand his own way. He’s a perfect gentleman. And he’s mine. Till death do us part.
I don’t know why it took a movie to help me see all that. But since I’ve been home, I feel differently. I look at him and I see these things. Even when we have a disagreement. Even when he’s late coming home from work. Even when he’s tired and cranky. Even then. I count my blessings. I am more in love with him today than I was the day I married him almost eleven years ago. And who was born 42 years ago today.
Happy Birthday, Sweetie. I love you more than I can say.