Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Few (or, maybe I should just rent "Beaches" again)

My new mascara makes my eyes itchy. Not good.

Today was my first day back at work after a few days off, and I had the pleasure of making sure a newly terminated employee left the building without stealing anything. That sucked.

Yanks lost to the Pirates tonight. Whatever. I got to take the dog for two walks today, drive around with Ian for a while, and get extra kisses from the boys at bedtime. I'm pretty content.

Now I'm alone on my couch. I wanted to write something, but ... what? That I've recently been reminded, again, how I've always wanted to be a nurse? That I'm about to embark on an entire WEEK without my children at home--and I fear I will feel like a ship adrift without them here for that long? That I am happy to have some very good friends--some who have become closer, some who have simply arrived without warning? And that I still, sometimes, mourn the loss of friendships in the wake of my divorce? What? What? Where is my brain going tonight? Oh...down this road:

There are a few friends I've lost because of my split from Baby Daddy. But in all honesty, I don't really miss them. I miss the idea that maybe we could have been close one day. But the reality is that we were never close. Those friendships--those very few--were forced. They were dreaded social obligations. They were friendships that were the direct result of my association with my ex-husband, and nothing more. This point was driven home a couple of months ago when, at a get together with several people with whom I have some or no level of acquaintance, I had Absolutely Nothing to Say to one of the moms there. She has, in all truth, never been particularly kind to me. But I'm not unique; she badmouths everyone. And so, when I was informed by a mutual friend that this person had unsurprisingly criticized me at length following my split from my ex, I saw it as nothing more than her moment to finally do what she has always wanted to do: Have an excuse to blatantly dislike me. I'm not complaining. It makes things easier...things like saying "hello" and nothing more at a picnic in the park.

But what gets me about all of this is our instinct as humans to immediately judge any situation and its players. My mother loves to say -- but not necessarily believe -- there are three sides to every story: His side; her side; and the truth. Suck it, people. We don't know the half of anything we hear about anyone. So stop judging.

To the friendships I've lost as the result of some of the most painful years of my life, I simply say See Ya. The fact is that they were friendships I never really had. True friends don't assume and judge things they don't know. There is his side. There is her side. And there is the truth, which is suspended in some fourth dimension above the heads of two small children at the dinner table, while daddy's plate of food is hurled at the wall.

I don't judge you. Why should you judge me?
Favorite Clash lyrics of mine. Why do we judge? Because judging others is the only way we can sometimes make sense of our insecurities and fears. Everyone does it, one way or another. Next time, try to catch yourself doing it, and correct it somewhere in your heart. Because no one ever really knows the full story of someone else's life. And if we're all connected, then logic dictates we could never really know the full story of our own lives. We only know the fullness of our experiences.

The Upside

In the wake of the dee-vorss, a few amazing things happened: I fell. I got up. I fell again and wanted to just stay down. But I didn't, and then I unexpectedly fell in love with someone I've known a long time. The first party my ex-husband and I ever went to together was at Ian's house, back in 1992. It was the first time I met Ian. Then he was someone I saw around town a lot; someone with whom I had mutual friends; someone who waved to me and my kids on the playground while he walked his dogs through the park; someone who served me Harp (and many waters) at Rudy's. And now here I am, 16 years later, engaged to the guy. The most amazing guy. Who knew?

Other things happened, too. I gained a self-confidence (however spotty) that I didn't have before. I gained an incredible sense of self-reliance, proving I can handle many things--financially, emotionally, physically--without the help of anyone. I gained a sense of what it means to be alone, what it means to be a single mom, what is means to be a "co-parent" (Good God, I CAN'T STAND that phrase!!! What idiot came up with that shit???) I left a house full of good and not so good memories for a nurturing, peaceful apartment by the water. I got a turtle. A new car. And a new job.

And I gained friends.

I might have lost a few superficial friends as the result of my split from the kids' dad, but did I ever get a return by the bucketful. I've always been blessed with Renee, of course, but I've grown that much closer to Heide (love you!), and to Rachel, who I recently got to know very well and hit it off with so easily that it was uncanny. I've also become quite close with Mary, the nice Irish mom of Nolan's best buddy. All of this--ALL OF IT--has been amazing. I fell asleep more than two years ago on the floor of the living room in my old house surrounded by darkness because of yet another unpaid UI bill (thanks, ex), about 30k in debt and positively depressed. I woke up in the sun by the beach, debt-free, surrounded by strong, hilarious, and irreverent women who had cooked up a feast of Fuck That, Let's Rock This Thing Called Life. And viola! I'm actually...happy.

So tonight, I think about the coworker that got laid off. I hope he has good friends. It makes all the difference. Good friends hold us accountable for our actions but don't hold our actions against us. Good friends turn a horrible day into just a bad one full of tearful laughter--and good days into great ones. Good friends. I've been blessed with a few exceptional ones. Each one of them inspires me to be a better friend, a better mom, a better daughter, a better sister, a better worker, a better ex-wife, a better--uh--better half, and a better friend to myself.




Renee said...

Way to make a girl cry first thing in the morning :)
So beautiful and inspirational!

Milk Money said...

What's with me making everyone cry with my blogs??? :o) At least I managed to write about friendship without bringing up little things from OUR past like, uh, big hair, braces, balloon pants....


Heide said...

Damn it! I was already crying, because I found out last night that my brother is in Kuwait, he left about 2 weeks ago and didn't bother to tell my dad or me, and it has me all sorts of worked up... Then I make the mistake of reading this goddamn post -- and since it had "Beaches" in the title I should have known to just steer clear of it. It would be great to go one day without tears sometime soon... Anyhoo, love you too, sister.

Milk Money said...

Are you kidding me??? You had said he was getting ready to go--but he LEFT already? Without telling anyone??? Heide! That's insane! I'm so sorry--I'm going to keep prayin' he stays safe, too--so he can come home in one piece for you to kick his ass.

Love you, preggers. When I was knocked up with my kids, I used to cry of those "the touch, the feel of cotton" commercials. I was a headcase. (Wait..."was"???)

Anonymous said...

kudos from the gal who just happened to stumble upon this blog and kept reading...not only are you fortunate to have them in your life but they are incredibly fortunate to have you in theirs...what a tribute! please keep writing!!

Milk Money said...

Thanks, girl! And I will keep writing--thank you for reading! :o)