I was first exposed to the LOTR trilogy when I was newly married to #1. Though I didn’t take well initially to the Fellowship, I was taken with the Two towers. It was the duality of Gollum that gained my intrigue. When the movie ended, I was so completely consumed with this creature who now appeared to have this incredible depth and backstory that I wasn’t willing to wait another year to learn it. And what if the movie never explored the events that led Smeagol to morph into the troubled, slightly creepy soul that he had become? I immediately found and purchased the books online, this was not a risk I was willing to take. Beginning with the Hobbit, I ravaged these books so ferociously that Ring Wraiths forced their way into my dreams and I accepted and embraced my new standing as a Fantasy Fiction fanatic.
All these years later, I had the opportunity to expose my wee ones to Middle Earth on the big screen. Bless you, little local theater (buy local, people). We three stared raptly as the smallest, most vulnerable and least likely of heroes stepped forward to carry the sought-after ring into the very heart of evil, knowing that their journey would cost them more than just Second Breakfast and Elevensies. But still they stood amongst greater and stronger men or magically gifted (and ridiculously beautiful) elves, not because Hobbits are at all courageous, but because it had to be done.
At the close of this story, I can’t help but recognize the difference in my reaction now and that first time I saw it. Unbidden tears stream down my face as Frodo verbalizes the very crux of all my thoughts for two years; “I wish the Ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened”. To which Gandalf so wisely responds “So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. There are other forces at work in this world, Frodo, besides the will of evil”.
13 years later, I’ve embarked on a sort of Trilogy of my own. Instead of one, coveted ring, there were three, easily tossed into the fires of Mount Doom. One of my favorite lines uttered by Bilbo Baggins is “Sorry! I don’t want any adventures, thank you. Not Today”. Me too, Bilbo, me too. It’s the entire reason I selected #3. Having #2 unexpectedly immerse me into the world of drug addiction, I was quite set on moving on to a very regular, very mundane, Hobbit-esque life. Nonetheless, here I am. 3 husbands, 2 children, 2 careers and 1 eating disorder later I basically feel like I have been to Mordor.
And as many times as I have sobbed or screamed that I wish none of this had ever come to me, it did. And my only choice is to manage what is before me, and put my hope in those *other* forces that are unseen but not unfelt.
I am not done sobbing or even screaming, mind you. But I’m ok with that. Losing a husband and the life I had planned and hoped for, deserves to be mourned as much as anything else. But sometimes, I get to laugh uncontrollably with my sisters and friends or find immense joy in sharing with my children stories that I love. I can also choose to tell my own hard stories in an effort to help others like me or spend my free time painting wine bottles and roller blading; or maybe even in the company of other women with different stories that are strangely similar to my own. Because, after all, just like Gollum, we didn’t all start out timid and broken and fixated on getting back what we think is rightfully ours. We were regular and hopeful and eager to have something nice.
Evidently, I have a soft spot for conflicted creatures. But to be clear, I will not marry them this time.
“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” – Bilbo Baggins