“Get in here”, she beckoned me into the bathroom. “Grab a seat”, she said gesturing to the kiddie stool next to the sink. “Here’s a preview of what your life will be like in 10 years.” Obediently, often feeling like very much a child myself, I sat.
Two squirmy, wriggling, wet, naked kids were laughing and splashing in the tub wrangled by my neighbor mom friend. She grabbed them by their feet and dumped water over their heads using a bucket, soaping them up with tenderness and humor.
“Get over here stinky monkey!” she said in exactly the same tone used with me that put my butt on a stool in her bathroom. Privy to this little family ritual, I watched with admiration and a slight bit of discomfort. I don’t know anything about this world.
Kidlets toweled dry and wrestled into PJ’s, the four of us piled on a bedroom floor and listened to her read stories, seamlessly navigating through mini sibling spats over who got to push the sound button on a book. I relaxed a bit, savoring this. This little family was so sweet and it felt special being included, until realized I was drinking a glass of wine and felt slightly out of place again. What was I doing here amongst this beautiful little ritual? After watching her clean up dinner from the three of them, bathe them both, tug them into PJ’s, read to them in English and Spanish, kiss their heads and turn down the lights- I was ready for bed and it wasn’t even 9PM.
We sank into her chairs overlooking the bay, a panoramic view of Miami, and I launched into the reason I was there in the first place. I needed a venue for an upcoming event, and Kris had a hook up. It would be a fancy, amazing, opportunity to show off to “people who matter” style kind of dinner party. We talked business, opportunity, specifics, and I felt great about the whole thing; confident, capable. She looked at my excitement, probably noting either my relief or my overcompensation, and asked, “How are you?”
I cocked my head and she clarified, “I mean, emotionally, physically, financially.”
I sat back, suddenly heavy. Busted.
“It’s…..all of it.” I said with a heavy sigh. “It’s everything.” I tried to explain, in shorthand what had been going on lately.
Emotionally, I am crippled. I’m trying to sort through being left by someone who, in hindsight, turns out was never really available to begin with. I am coming off of the most amazing fairy tale romance, dealing with dismissive apathy from a person who loves me, doesn’t want to be with me, yet had just flown me around the world. I didn’t understand, stories like ours were supposed to have happy endings. My past few months were occupying my present thoughts constantly. I spent my time over-analyizing; self conscious, frustrated, and exhausted by it all.
Physically, I’m finding running isn’t the psycological reset button it used to be. I want to stay in bed every morning I wake up, and yet I can’t sleep. I’m drinking too much, I’m eating irresponsibly. My time is my own and I’m trying to use it constructively, but it’s a struggle. My emotions have turned into a palpable thing, I can feel it in my stomach; a sinking feeling, a tightness in my throat. Physically, I feel like I’m sick.
Financially, I’m not where I am used to being. I’ve always been fiercely independent and self sufficient. Ambitious and confident, I started my own private chef/ event planning company business back in May, but I let it fall to the wayside when I got swept away to Europe for the summer by my emotionally immature Prince. I landed, unexpectedly- with a giant thud, back into reality. Starting from scratch was difficult. I defiantly refuse to fall to pieces professionally, I am nothing if not resourceful. I just wished business was better.
I am also stronger than all of this. This is not the first time I’ve fallen hard, for someone, from someone; and as my mother reminds me at times like these, I always land on my feet. It is just a matter of time before this wound heals, and I will never give up hope that everything happens exactly as it should. I am doing everything in my power to nurture myself. I’m giving myself time to be sad, being honest about the path change requires. I will be upset…. until one day, I will get so sick of being upset that I’ll shake it all off, and move on. It’s a process.
Kris listened to all of this pouring out of me thoughtfully, and kindly reminded me of all of my accomplishments and potential. I look up to her so much, this superwoman who has a beautiful family, a booming business that takes her all over the world, and who runs marathons in her spare time. When I grow up, I want to be her.
She heard her 4 year old creep out of bed like a dog hears a silent whistle. She whispered to her, “psst pssst!” inviting her in and scooping her up, snuggling her into her lap. I watched the way their identical faces moved as they talked to each other, both of them sleepy. I again felt how intimate this was for me, being in her home with her family.
“Meaghan has a dream” she explained to her mini me in kid speak.
“What do we say when you want to ride your bike?” she asked.
“I can do it”. The little one mumbled slowly, sleepy.
“And if you want to go roller-blading, what do we say?”
“I can do it”.
……“And what do we say if you fall down?”
I felt my chest constrict with emotion, my hand flying to cover my heart, tears immediately in my eyes.
“It’s OK to fall.”
“And we try again, right?”
“Yeah” she said, with sleepy conviction.
Kris looked at me and smiled, and in that moment I was so grateful for her. It was exactly what I needed to hear, the permission I needed. She told me, in the most beautiful way, something we all need to be reminded of, at 4 years of age, at 30 years of age, at every age. I smiled at them both, promising myself.
I will get up. I will try again. I will succeed.