I need a bon bon. I am grumpy. And tired. Moving s l o o o o o w w w… like molasses; thick. My girlfriend texted me this quote today,
“Never let the things you WANT make you forget the things you HAVE.”
We have a running conversation about our lives and the different pathways we had imagined them taking. We talk about what others have and how we wished we had them. Sometimes we ponder where life would be if we had chosen differently. Did we make the right choices? Would we trade our current life for the ones we imagined for ourselves? Are we angry housewives eating bon bons?
I am staring at the group of women around me as I sat in my favorite coffee house. I watched their lips move not hearing the words they were saying. My mind was everywhere but in the moment, vision blurring, eyes trying to focus. We are an animated group of women from all different walks of life. But we also are very much the same as we tread through this season in our lives; discovering, questioning, searching. Our conversation went from high shrills amidst peals of laughter to silence; lost in our own thoughts. In the three years, some more, that I have known these girls I have ridden on their highs and lows, ebbs and flows. I was reminded of the book, Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons by Lorna Landvik; a tale of neighbors who formed a bookclub and navigated through lives together: births, graduations, drama, divorce, mid-life and mortality.
I visualize myself turning the last page, closing the book and sighing. What a read, that was entertaining. But sadly, I have no book to close; my page is earmarked and unwritten, sitting before me. The situations that occur in our lives are very real. I am not reading about someone else. I am sitting in a coffee house with these women hoping to turn to the next page to see what will be written. The future still lies before us and I’m not ready for the chapter to be left on a cliffhanger. Thinking about the things I wish for and want are trivial. I have forgotten what it is that I have.
In the novel, above, one of the women starts to scrapbook about the decades their bookclub has spent together. Because of Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons I decided to be the journal keeper; the scrapbooker. Recently we have decided to take pictures of our children before they grow taller and, mentally, worlds apart . I already see our kids diverging on different paths; formulating who they are and what they want to be. As parents we struggle with them: nurturing, sheltering, pushing, guiding as they learn to maneuver relationships and newfound independence. But, collectively, all of us want the same things. We want to raise loving, humble and successful children and live to see them get there.
My girlfriend’s goal is for each of us to have a CD of pictures with all of our kids as they’ve grown. She said the words like it was finite; that eventually we’d reach the end of the CD.
My yin sees things being lost. Dad’s health, uncle Randy’s house, my kids’ innocence, achieving my dreams. What I have gets lost in the murky sludge. My eyes refocused back to the coffee on the table, my ears finally hearing the words, my eyes seeing the faces before me. I became present and looked around at the women that I am grateful to have. I silently thanked God and was surprised I wasn’t angry; my initial reaction to any news that is bad. The conveyance of words from my girlfriend’s mouth was my rude awakening of the things that I have here and now. As an only child I am unaccustomed to sharing bad news; always raised to put my best foot forward and to keep my mouth shut. To show weakness was to succumb without a fight. It was cathartic to have the fears in my mind voiced, succinctly, by my girlfriend. This is not something you can control. In sharing her burden I did not feel weighed down. Quite the opposite; it freed me.
By confronting the white elephant in the room we gained the strength of one another. The urgency to come together became strong. Instead of wallowing in pity we decided to throw a party. We never know what the future is going to bring and I’m hoping our novel will be quite the tome by the time I have finished writing it. Life is not a bedtime story and in the true telling of it; one can gain and learn of its complexity and beauty in the sharing of its ups and downs. We are not isolated; we are a family. Survivors. The blank page lies open for me to pen it.