Mary Dell writes:
Airplane trips offer few comforts – no food, uncomfortable seats, dreary in-flight entertainment. Last week, however, on a flight with my family, American Airlines provided a movie that I watched with interest. One of the main characters was a disagreeable woman who nagged her husband, complained about everything, and feared leaving the hotel to which they had traveled.
Thank you, Mrs. Jean Ainslie, of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, for being the type of woman I never want to be.
Perhaps you have already seen the movie? Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson, and Maggie Smith headline the outstanding cast of vintage English actors. Mrs. Ainslie is played by Penelope Wilton, familiar to fans of Downton Abbey as Isobel Crawley, the somewhat pushy but kindly mother of heir-in-the-making, Matthew. While she is a sympathetic character in that miniseries, in this film she is a royal pain in the arse.
My reason for thanking her now? We are on a family vacation and my husband is a terrible sitter. I am an excellent sitter and that creates a tiny conflict as he picks adventure and I am content with a stack of magazines and books. However, in watching the less than rosy outcome for Mr. and Mrs. Ainslie at the Marigold Hotel, I have been inspired me to get off my own arse and join in the family adventures.
Yesterday the three of us headed to the beach. The relaxing chairs on the sand called to me, but I resisted as the explicit goal was to try paddle boarding. Perhaps you have seen pictures of bikini clad women standing upright regally gliding through water with a paddle gently dipping into the surf. This was not me. But, with Mrs. Ainslie’s shrewish barks in my ear, I pushed myself to try it and, to my great surprise, I stayed upright and actually did passably well for a non-athletic person with mediocre balance.
The moral of the movie’s story for me was this – don’t self declare that you are past peak, unable to learn, explore and evolve. Your spouse, partner or friends want your companionship. Your children most definitely prefer to see you active and Lord only knows that any future grandchildren will simply want you to get on the floor and play.
Mrs. Ainslie is my guide.
Please visit Grown and Flown: Parenting from the Empty Nest www.grownandflown.com