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Finding “Carl and Ellie” in it All

It would be May 29th, 2009 that Pixar would rip our hearts from our chests, rearrange them, and put them back together again with different pieces. Yes, I am talking about the movie “UP” and why it meant so much to so many; including Craig and I.  Funny side story, Pixar always seemed to drop their new movies on or near BOTH of our daughter’s birthdays. As they grew up, going to see one of their movies almost became a birthday tradition. But let’s get back to UP and why it resonated with us.

Well, for one, like most couples, the walkthrough of Carl and Ellie’s lives were pretty much the same. A couple of major differences is that we were able to conceive our first with no problem, but we did struggle for years with our second. One of our biggest tests in our marriage was not only struggling to conceive our second, after having our first so easily, but having a second child with Cancer. That damn “C” word will test everything you hold dear- as a parent, as a human, and as a spouse. I would like to believe that Carl and Ellie would have struggled with that too, and in a way they did in the end.

We also had the big, empty water cooler type jug that we deemed worthy of Disney trip savings. Painfully adding quarter by quarter, watching it fill, only to have to use it for something else more important.  We eventually got to our own version of Paradise Falls, but it takes time. And that’s the point of this movie, building over time a relationship of laughter and love, while still facing the worst of storms together. Realizing that neither of us will never be perfect, that we are flawed creatures and that accepting those flaws while working through them with love, that has been the key to our healing.

We got married at 19, and most of you who have followed us since 2009, know we have had our fair share of ups and downs. Some may say I was too transparent at times with my marriage, but to those people I say “You didn’t see my messages.”  Many people reached out to me, struggling in their own relationships, THANKING me for not candy coating the hard times. Yes, nobody wants to read about them, but sometimes I feel we all want to know that we aren’t alone in what we are going through. That someone else out there maybe is expressing it in a way that we can quietly relate to in the shadows. Even with each passing struggle we have had, someone out there always makes me feel better, and I hope that I can always pay that forward.

Now I hope our ending is not the same as the movie, but Craig and I sit side by side, every night. I would love to tell you we are reading Chaucer while holding hands, but come on, its 2023. We are binging “Ozark” right now and next is “Breaking Bad.” Yeah, I don’t think they would like these shows LOL. The point is that we make time for each other at the end of every day, and I have looked forward to them more and more over time. It is that fuzzy warm feeling of looking over at your spouse and feeling that peace that they are there, and for however long you have them, to cherish those moments.

This man loves me so much, he even agreed to dress up as “Carl” for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party back in 2019. I mean, we HAD to dress up as Carl and Ellie at least once! We went for them as kids, which I thought was a fun idea. I bought the “Adventure Book” like in the movie and have used the mantra “Adventure is out there” many a time on my own road trips. I like Ellie, I feel we have the same free spirit.

Over time, we have collected Funkos, cards, and artwork our daughter gave us from the movie. I made a little “UP” area in our theater room to pay tribute to our movie. Even the sandhill cranes we used to joke were our personal “Kevins.” Which can I tell you, when they brought HER into Disney’s Animal Kingdom, I WAS SO HAPPY!! If you haven’t interacted with her yet, ask Customer Service where she is making an appearance. OH, and catch Dug and Randall meet and greets near the “Tree of Life” as well.

We will always love “UP” and our beloved Carl and Ellie, and I hope this explains why WE fell in love with them. I can only hope that I will be lucky enough to grow old with my Carl and go on many more adventures together.

Side Nerd Note, I named my car Ellie, you’re welcome.

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