Thursday, March 17, 2005

An embarrassment of riches

Are your monitors going all wacky from the peace and contentment I am radiating out from here? From the way I absolutely cannot believe what a fortunate, fortunate soul I am?

This afternoon the kids and I went over to my acquaintance Sally's house. Now, Sally and I have known each other for several years, but it's been a casual type of knowing. Our kids have gone to the same daycare and school; she helped the Ex find his new home when we separated; we chat when we run into each other at school functions. But we've never really done more than that, I think because we've both had bigger fish to fry these past few years. I don't feel it's my place to give you too much detail into her life (even though Sally is not, of course, her real name), but I think it's safe to say that she and I seem to have pissed off the same card dealer. Like my family, she and her clan have been faced with medical issues and marital troubles, although happily, her marriage made it through the fire and she's now pregnant with her third child. Her oldest son, who is 7, has ADHD.

I don't know if I can fully express how exquisitely wonderful the afternoon was. First, I should tell you that I am already damned lucky in the friends department. There's the Chica, of course, who is the Earth's Finest Woman, end of story. As if having her was not enough to fill up my fair friend quotient for the rest of my life! Her daughter and the Boy know each other as "cousins" and actually get along quite well most times, although they have earned the joint nickname of "Conan and Red Sonja". Another friend who used to be a neighbor has always stood up for the Boy, and he and her daughter get along splendidly (although now that they're getting older, her daughter is getting more interested in hanging out with the other girls). Many of my other friends and relations are supportive and funny and marvelous, and of course there's you, my dear, darling blog friends, you groovy angels of goodwill, scattered all about like hidden treasure. So I feel like one of those people who keep winning lotteries and contests and whatnot until you just want to smack them. Only instead of a bunch of dorky prizes, I have this group of incredible women (and men), each one different and yet each one a matching piece to some grain of who I am.

Over tea, we discussed the Great Mother Paranoia. Now and then, one of the boys would dash in with an emergency, and Sally would kindly and firmly remind them that they could choose whether they wanted to play in the den or the basement, but they may not play in here. Amid all the chaos, we continued our conversation, paused at interruptions, and then continued. Because we both live in the tornado, there were no sidelong glances, no pursed lips, no frustrated sighs. Dear God, people, it was heaven.

After a while, she threw a blanket down on the living room floor, hauled out 4 boxes of crackers and a carton of cheese spread, plunked her beautiful pregnant self down and told me, "It's snack time or I'm going to barf. Do you mind?" The children migrated outside and we talked about medications and meditations and baby clothes. The Girl wandered back in and joined us. Sally got a different carton of spread. "None of these crackers taste good to me. I am just going to keep opening things until something doesn't make me want to yak. I hope you don't think I'm a complete freak." And then she laughed.

You know that feeling, that beatific feeling you get when you click with someone and you realize, "Wow. This person and I are going to be friends."? And it's like an unexpected gift, like someone just handed you a present all wrapped up and glittering, and all you have to do is open it up?

Sorry about your monitors, though.