So the party last night was fun. We were seated at a table with another mom and her kids. Luckily one of my kids knew one of hers, so that bonded the kids and you know what happens when 2 moms get together. Even as strangers, we can bond for a night. And so, we did.
People tend to tell me their life stories. I don’t know why, but it’s happened all my life. It’s always interesting how they open up after they realize I don’t judge. Sometimes it’s like watching a mud slide, how the superficial lies that are said during cocktail hour talk melt away to full on disclosure. At times, it’s mind-blowing.
Superficial chitchat on both of our parts during the introduction to each other and kids. We talked about how we knew the guest of honor. She mentions her husband. I don’t. After awhile, she discloses that he’s home and didn’t want to come to the party. I pat her hand and say how it would have been awkward for him with 2 moms and a bunch of kids and him at the table. Nervous laughter, but she agrees. Then she asks about my husband. I tell her that we are divorced, kids live with me, it’s been awhile now and we’re good. That opens a floodgate and for the rest of the night, she is disclosing all of her fears, her hard times and asking for advice on how to plan to leave the man she’s calling her husband (who is all of her kids’ baby daddy, but who she’s never married throughout the decades they’ve been together). She begins to ask me questions about divorce, sharing her fears of being a single mom etc. As she’s sharing, I ask her some questions and then I tell her that she’s already a single mom, with the details she’s shared about her man and maybe no divorce is needed since they’ve never married, unless it’s common law marriage in her state.
During the night, she kept announcing to the table of our kids that she just loved me because I was so smart. I’m not so smart. I just listened with an open heart to her. It made me sad for her. It made me grateful to be of any help possible. I felt her desperation at times and since I’ve felt that way before, it was easy to recognize. She felt like she was drowning and so she was grasping for a life line. I helped as I could last night and I wished her the best when we parted ways.
But it made me think about how much we cover up in our lives in order to put on a good face. It reminded me of how many times I said I was ok when I really wasn’t. I thought about how we fall victim to our circumstances sometimes and put up a really good argument for why we’re right. You know that song, Somebody done somebody wrong song? That’s what comes to mind for me. When we’re in a bad place, we can’t see further than our own fears, self-pity and all-encompassing unhappiness. In order to heal, we have to get it all out, set it on the table and really look at it from someone else’s point of view. Then take those pieces of the puzzle of our life and put it back together in a new way.
I think it’s listening that helps people. We’ve all got the answers within us, but we’ve got to open our eyes and heart to get the solution. It’s not for me to tell you what to do. It’s for you to choose to do something about whatever is bugging you! Does that make sense?