It has come to my attention that we exercise for two reasons only- so we can talk about it and so we can talk about it. We think if we say ‘I am at the gym most mornings before 6 ‘ (and who has not heard me say this*) that we look better/younger/faster/stronger to those we tell. Saturday night’s dinner party included lots of old friends and I sat with a husband on my left (thanks for sharing) and his wife on my right. Early on, before the Margaritas took on their full effect, she mentioned briefly about having been at boot camp at sunrise that morning. Several vodka shots and glasses of red wine ( I counted over 85 glasses on that table -goblets, shooters, high balls and demi tasses-I know there was food because I recall seeing a fork but the details of the meal escape me) she demonstrated exactly what was required of her at boot camp that morning. She was wearing a short dress and boots.
The night’s focus was mainly on boot camp and how she was there, goes often, finds it tough and whether or not she had had a boob job. Things were so perky after breast feeding three babies over a decade ago that we had to keep asking if her recent trip to Europe was code for time with Dr Plastics. Finally, when she could not handle the interrogation any more she pulled off her padded bra as proof that she was all natural and still her old flat chested self. I love these parties- they start with fine linens, crystal, silver, fresh flowers and end with flaming sambucas and underwear on the table.
As the night wore on, she became more physically crippled from boot camp antics that morning. Soon she was walking comically as though she just got off a horse and when she was asked why she was walking funny she replied “did I not tell you about boot camp?”
* my sneaky way of telling you that I go to the gym most mornings by 6. So clever.
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My children love to watch romantic comedies and although they can be fun and tidy the way they end so happily, tucking you into bed with a smile on your face, most of them are close to awful. We recently watched When Harry Met Sally (me -for easily the 10th time-but not in many years) and I forgot how well written it was. Inevitably the ending makes me cry. You remember it-Billy Crystal’s character, after years of fooling himself that he does not want to commit and that he is not in love with Meg Ryan’s character, suddenly decides he cannot live without her. It is just before midnight on New Year’s eve and he, after knowing her for 12 long years, runs for several city blocks to tell her he loves her. “When you realize that you want to spend the rest of your life with someone,” he says breathlessly ” you want the rest of your life to start right away.”
All my friends know this line off by heart.
I wondered during this recent viewing if the heart ever says – this is not for me, this kind of love. Watching for the first time as a divorced person, I wondered if some cry because it is touching and and some cry because they feel they can’t have this. They think- this only for the young who have never felt a broken heart?
My dear friend sent me an email the first year I separated. She had just returned from her cousin’s second wedding. The cousin had been dumped abruptly and unkindly after several years of marriage and three children. I never understand why it is important for someone to say “I never loved you” and yet many like to throw that salt into the wound. Regardless of this solid attempt at breaking her heart, her heart stayed open. She always remained positive and sure she would find love again. And she did. I don’t see this as a coincidence.
Does this attitude have an expiry date? Could you go to 70 or 80 years of age, heart wide open? There are some people, I fear both married and divorced, who see the moment in the movie and say “that is artful and sweet but I know better-this does not exist” .
The last line of my friend’s email to me, which early on I re-read often, was ” I look forward to your next love story.”
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Mother daughter weekends are different when your carload represents your whole family. The women I was with this weekend are both married and also have young sons- so they left half of themselves behind, to take the dog for walks, re-seed the grass, go to hockey tryouts and fix a few things around the house. I don’t have anyone to call home to, to check up on or to ask to pull the roast out of the freezer and later pop into the oven. The home you leave behind is empty and lifeless and without attention.
This is not anything more than an observation. It does not make me sad in the way you think it might. I am often shocked at how happy I am, as though I am waking up each day to every possibility . But when I walk into my home I must turn on the lights and bring in the energy. I do love entering a home in mid activity, with something cooking and some excitement before me.
On the way home, my friend beside me in the front seat, I listened to the way she spoke to her husband tenderly directing him to the dinner plans and the things that needed to be done. She listened to his stories of what she missed. I sat quietly thinking ‘what the heck am I going to make for dinner tonight?’
My phone rang as if in response to this question. It was my dear friend and neighbour (see family is content not form) asking me if we could join her and her daughters for dinner. She is roasting chickens, making salad and I will bring potatoes, veggies, strawberries and cold beer.
I am going home to someone.
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