I don’t feel much like playing around right now.
Mt. Rainier looms, literally and figuratively. I am officially in co-parenting counseling, which means one extra hour a week spent in the same room as my former spouse. The Magician, a man who is both smart and funny, which makes him crazy sexy, is healing a broken heart. A process that must be experienced alone. Without complications like falling for the Bolinas Witch. The Dudes have made bickering an Olympic sport. They tied for gold this past weekend. Thank goodness for a day of boogie boarding and reconnecting with a woman I adore under a sunny sky on Saturday. A woman who has experienced the same betrayal as me – same way, same duration, same blindside.
We had dinner that night, with her former spouse and his Mom. You read that correctly. I had a fantastic time, but it was surreal. He still looks at her with affection in his eyes, while my former spouse looks at me as if I am the one who betrayed him all those years. She is grace as she shares her home so that her children can spend the day with Daddy at the beach. I would rather share my home with this:
In the middle of dinner I wanted to say, Dude. What were you thinking? Wasn’t her friendship valuable enough to preserve? Wasn’t it important enough to protect the mother of your children from betrayal? Wasn’t there a point in time during your marriage when you would have beheaded someone for treating her the way you treated her?
I couldn’t hug him goodbye. But if I could have reached inside of him and removed the part of him that chose to betray her, what would have remained would be hug worthy. Instead I shook his hand. I am not a hand-shaker. I am a hugger. As I shook his hand I thought, I wish you didn’t do what you did. We could have been such great friends.
One of these days I’m going to meet a man who has betrayed his wife and he is going to walk me through the choices so I can understand how it all goes haywire. It’s all SO unnecessary. All the pain. Lies. Hurt. One moment of bravery, a choice to have a conversation and not an affair, would make all the difference in the world for those who are left wondering, Why was I not worthy of honesty?
Lately, as I look around at my circle of friends, there seems to be so many challenging situations. Divorce, disease, death. And then lots and lots of frosting in an attempt to cover up the cracked and crumbling cake. We create moments when the pain can be numbed so pleasure can be had. To varying degrees we dig around inside to see if we can stitch up a wound and get on with life without feeling like our heart is disintegrating in our hands as we run toward the finish line.
We just want to have some fun.
A few weeks back, at a table for two in Starbucks, sat three women (one betrayed (me) all divorced, one who got the double whammy of cancer as her marriage was imploding) and a man (widow). Our children are the same age. A motley crew, for sure. One day we all gravitated toward each other, and since discovering our shared experiences, we’ve talked openly about healing.
I wonder if other parents see us and think, with pity, I don’t want to be part of that club. …poor them…
We’ve probably all cried way more than those that are happily married as of late. But we also share a wicked, if not occasionally macabre, sense of humor. We’ve bonded over The D. (Divorce, Disease, Death) We know what it’s like to push through the muck.
It sucks, said one.
What she was referencing was the labor of healing oneself. Of looking deep inside with eyes that aren’t fooled by the Ego to find the reasons why we created our reality.
Since that day, since hearing that simple two word sentence, I’ve pondered the idea that healing sucks.
If healing sucks, then life sucks!
Well, what about your Mom?, says one. She’s dying from cancer. Doesn’t that suck?
Not for her, said I. She’s throwing one party after another. Last week she ate 40 oysters and drank champagne. She just read the book, Heaven Is For Real. I asked her how it made her feel knowing that she was going to be there soon. Her response:
I CAN’T WAIT!!! Literally. That’s what she said.
If death can’t suck then healing can’t suck.
Bad pizza can suck.
Chicken piccata with too many capers can suck.
Healing cannot suck.
And neither can climbing Mt. Rainier.
I’m starting to see the reason why I am climbing her in the midst of winter.
(This won’t be the last time I say this: Technically, I am not climbing Mt. Rainier in winter. When I begin my ascent it will be 9 days after winter. Yet it will be in the single digits, perhaps below zero, with a big degree of likelihood that I will be peeing icicles. I’m not supposed to say I did a winter climb of Mt. Rainier. Pft. Hear me roar: I am doing a winter climb of Mt. Rainier. Take your calendar and…)
I need to learn the importance of making intense, intimidating, fierce emotionally and physically challenging endeavors fun.
I have to make hanging on a rope inside a crevasse fun. Training to be strong enough to handle that has to be fun. It can just as easily suck. Simple choice. I choose fun. I don’t want to spend these final weeks before my climb thinking about anything other than having a total freaking blast on that mountain. (Hear that, International Mountain Guides? You and I are about to have a week of nothing but fun. Notify the mountain.)
Co-parenting counseling can suck.
I choose fun.
How I’m going to pull that off I have no idea, but I’m going to start with being light-hearted. This is not the Apocalypse. It’s safe to say that me being light-hearted will be perceived as arrogant, condescending and rude. But I really just want to have fun.
A kitten once drilled it into my head that perception is reality. I am so grateful. It helps me be empathic and not judgmental or resentful when faced with different ways of living life. My former spouse’s perception is his reality. Thankfully, his opinion of me doesn’t matter to me anymore. That, by the way, is a recent achievement. So now it’s time to realize the benefits of that growth and lighten up my heart.
Please do not misinterpret that as a desire on my part to have fun with my former spouse. Not the case. I just don’t want to get in the habit of having that part of my life suck.
I don’t want any part of my life to suck.
(Mom. I know. I’m throwing that word around like you toss back oysters. I promise – just this once. And then I won’t say it for at least a year.)
I don’t want to embark on a romance with checked baggage. I want to throw a 50 pound pack on my back and smile as my legs pump and burn up the mountain. I’m going to laugh when I get down from a week on Mt. Rainier to find that my toenails are going to fall off just in time for summer. Peep toes, here I come! Who can resist toenail-less size 11s?
Remember Mr. Wild Card? Of course you do. It’s so fun having mended our friendship. I never asked him why he became so distant on a dime. I just figured he was’t down with dating a divorced mom and didn’t want to speak the words and hurt my feelings so he just created the distance.
Guess who he’s dating.
A divorced mom.
I can make that suck or just have fun with it.
After we parted company I spent a good ten minutes in my car laughing my head off.
Of course he’s dating a divorced mom…of course.
If I don’t choose to have fun with this life, it could end up sucking. I’m not playing that way.
I sat on the beach and watched The Dudes get tossed by waves, boogie boards tossed about on foam. The Little Dude got pummeled. I thought for sure he would emerge from the waves with his globe-sized blue eyes full of his own saltwater waves of emotion as he did last summer. He came running toward me. I prepared for him to crumble in my lap so I could stroke his head and let him heave.
Mama! My board went into the wave and it fwipped (he has some issues with Ls and Rs) me ovoh! It was so fun! I was down thewe fo five seconds!
And then he ran back into the water to make it happen again.
So, tomorrow, on my 48th birthday, I’m going to put 40 pounds of kitty liter in my backpack and go hike 20 miles. Then I’m going to plunge into the frigid ocean and swim with the seals. And then I’m going to go to the Sand Dollar and eat a steak. Maybe Mr. Wild Card will be there and I can help him decide what outfit to wear on his date.
I’m going to figure out how to make anything fun. That includes cleaning, escorting arachnids outside, helping assorted hot men fall in love with other people and listening to The Dudes bicker endlessly. Over nothing.
Because life has to be fun. It really, truly does.