Last night my family watched "It's a wonderful life" like we do every Christmas. Most of our pre-movie discussion was about the fact that the copy online was the restored colorized version. Some of us are traditionalists and don't like it when they colorize old black and white movies. It made some of the scenes better, and some I could have done without the color. The much better thing was that they cleaned up the audio so you could hear what everyone said.
While all the pre-movie discussion was about the film's aesthetics, the after-movie conversation was different, and it was about a life well-lived.
Most of the movie is the setup for the last 30 minutes. You see the life of George Bailey, and like many of us, he has big dreams. He plans to do everything but stay in his town, run the business his dad created, or even to live a somewhat "normal" life with his wife and kids.
I found his story to be a lot like a special needs parent. How many of us chose the life we have? How many of us had a plan and dream of how our life would go only to have it turned upside down! We spend our lives getting surprised by new circumstances and challenges. Like George, parents continue to make the best decisions they can base not on what is most comfortable but on what is best for their child and family.
Unlike George, parents rarely get to see the effects of what they do or their decisions. Most of the time, parents continue to the next day, week, year, or season, hoping to have made the right choices. I know from time to time, we get to see small victories, and those victories sustain us.
Like George thou, I would suspect that if all that was precious to you were magically gone, you would be frantic. And like Clarance's statement to George at his worst moment, the moment where he realizes everyone he loves has never been in his life, I want you to know what George finally realizes. Despite all the trials and tribulations, It has been a wonderful life!
Keep up the fight. We are here for you!
Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year!