Ladies on Ice.

lady2Last night as I shampooed Devil Baby’s hair, my thoughts kept straying to my weekend away with the book club ladies. Mere hours before, I had been sitting in one of the various roving sloppy circles of the weekend (in front of the windows with the view of the lake, in front of the fire place, around the wooden farm table, on two benches in the sun at the tip of Stout’s Island) surrounded by a near constant flow of words and laughter, maybe a few tears and quiet moments. Devil Baby didn’t want me to wash her hair and as she whined and resisted, I thought about the women who let me say what I needed to say, without judgment, with nods and murmurs of understanding, with stories of their own. I felt physically exhausted (more on that in a second), but mentally alert – almost limber. The way you’d feel after one of those rare classes in college where you felt like you cracked through to some greater truths, some deeper understanding of whatever topic you were discussing.

I’ve said it before, but these book club ladies are super analytical. They are processors and thinkers. They’re also highly verbal people. So you sit in enough circles with them and you’re going to hear really nuanced and insightful explanations or theories about the stuff that’s on their minds. They are also lyrical and romantic and curious. Lady Shutterbug has this completely endearing habit of saying “O.K., I’ve got a question for you guys . . .” and throwing out some juicy dilemma or a giant octopus of a topic. The word soulful came up a few times over the weekend – it’s what we look for in a yoga teacher, in a book, in a song, in a friend. But to be soulful, I think you must be honest. And to be honest, you must be brave. And the ladies are brave. (Not that you’d know it, judging by our mini frights over the course of the weekend: country folk on snowmobiles with night vision goggles, cat burglars, cracking ice, grandpa poltergeists). I think my take-away from the weekend, the reason I feel so clear in my head (despite all the wine, etcetera) is that I got to speak and hear the truth for hours and hours and hours. A mother’s truth. A wife’s truth. A woman’s truth. 

I wasn’t privvy to every single conversation, but as we meandered through the thicket of our lives right now – motherhood, sex, food, balance, friendship, botox (just talking, just talking), work, non-work, house work, clothes, husbands, art, faith, bras, meditation, moods, yoga, books – I felt like there was so much disclosure, so much sharing, but equally as much listening and mental note taking. We are not old, but we are not young. As such, I think we’re aware that we’re learning a few things along the way. The tricks, tips, and shortcuts. The surefire cures, the hit recipes, the best this or that, the worse this or that. I’m a huge fan of a “hot tip” and I feel like I was scurrying around, gathering the ladies’ hot tips like falling leaves. On the topic of food alone, I can’t wait to make Lady Pretty Twigs’ green goddess dressing, Lady Doctah K’s oven ribs and mushroom barley soup, Lady Tabouli’s kugel, Lady Shutterbug’s eggbake, Lady Homeslice’s chocolate mousse cake, and Lady Peace’s salad with stir fried veggies. And Lady Doctah Poodle, her fruit was fab, but what I really can’t stop thinking about is something she said right before I left: that perhaps it’s not a question of being a good mother or a bad mother, but of being an authentic mother. This is a really beautiful way to look at this job we have now and will have for the rest of our lives. It allows for imperfections and yet the standard is lofty, one worth calling to mind again and again, like a mantra.

But the weekend wasn’t all talk. There might have been a little drinking. There might have been a little dancing. There might have been a little singing. And there might have been some shrieking and laughing. And some of that might have happened indoors. But it all might have happened out on the white expanse of the frozen lake under a full moon, too. I must say, the ladies went a little crazy. A little really crazy. They cut loose. Soooooper loose. They even indulged me and my ridiculous notions and took turns with my cushy headphones and did a little tiny dancing. OH, TINY DANCING, HOW I LOVE AND ADORE YOU! We gave those country folk in their icehouses an eyeful and an earful, I’m afraid.  The image of my friends, running, spinning, swaying, singing, falling onto their backs and gaping up at the moon is something I’ll not soon forget. And I suspect the same goes for the country folk cowering in those ice houses.

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2 Responses to “Ladies on Ice.”

  • Dolly Says:

    Peevish Mama,

    How lucky you are to have just spent a weekend with your lady peeps. I know exactly of which you speak, referring to the mental and physical exhaustion and exhileration of three whole days just being you. I was fortunate to slip away last weekend to the mountains of Scottsdale, AZ with a handful of old friends, new friends and a couple of mere aquaintances whom I can now call friends. We laughed until we cried, we cried until it was time to pull it together for another jello shot, and we allowed our minds to let completely go of any responsibility for three whole days. Talk of recipes, birth control, job woes, volcanos (in the Big Blue sense of the word),and getting old-er — all peppered in with a mish mash of yoga, coffee,hot tub soaks, dance party mania and a whole lotta drinkin’. Three whole days. Liberating, isn’t it?

    I will take to heart what your friend says about being an authentic mother, because I too savored all the little moments of truth in my weekend and am hopeful to keep them with me, rather than let them fade away when the weekend is over. So here is one for you: The challenge is not to have a great time while away with your soul-ladies. The challenge is to let the enlightenment be part of you in your daily life. Believe it or not, I went to the desert and it rained most of the time. As you can imagine, I had fantasized about laying by a pool, catching some sun. I was pleasantly surprised at how it didn’t bother me that it was cloudy. For the enrichment that I got while being just Heath for three whole days was deeper than any tan I could have gotten.

    When the sun came out for a few minutes on our last day, I looked at my friends and said, “This is enough. I just needed to take some sunshine home with me.”

    Hopefully you did too.

    Love you girl!

  • Milton Says:

    roam@thrives.lifeless” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    thank you!…

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