Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Sharks, Brooke, bird poop, and Manchego cheese

In my dream last night, my oldest friend Brooke and I had to swim through a giant pack of sharks. She was suddenly gone, ahead of me, and I dove in. I was propelled by some engine-like force and I could feel the rubbery skin of fins and shark snouts whipping across my body. Then suddenly I was at an underwater elevator and I got in, rose up a couple floors, and walked out into a completely dry, normal looking, empty building space and there she was. I just remember feeling enormously relieved that we'd both survived.

So Brooke was in my dream because I just spent the holiday weekend at her cool house on the coast in Massachusetts. But the meaning of the dream has many possible interpretations. My dear friend M at work (who ought to be a counselor or pastor or something she's so clearly connected to or channeling, really, a higher power) asked if we'd both survived something. She knows about all my survivor stuff -- I keep nothing inside. I told her that Brooke and I both had recently lost our fathers, and both of us were extraordinarily dependent on and close to our dads as adults. And M said something about how good it was that we had each other while we went through hard times.

Brooke, on the other hand, thought it seemed like I must not feel supported by her in some way (because she took off into the sharks before I was ready, without me). That makes sense, because she's one of those annoyingly selfless people who always gives everyone else the benefit of the doubt, often at her own expense. And sometimes those closest to her. But I don't blame her for that any more. I know all her stuff, and love her for all of it.

Me, all I can think of is the total terror that I was about to be eaten by a shark and then the incredible relief to see Brooke and know we were both okay. What does that mean? I'd like to think it means we're both going to be okay. I'm not exactly sure what the sharks represent, but I know that she and I both know something pretty significant about loss that we didn't know before. Like that you're never entirely the same person again.

And just so you know, I'm healing well from that broken heart (loss doesn't heal, but broken hearts do, sort of). I went to another amusement park.

Brooke, me, and the kids went to a water park Sunday. I thought the most therapeutic ride was going to be the Pirate's Plunge, this water slide that speeds you from several stories up straight down in a pitch-black tunnel. But it was this other one that we just called "the mats one." That consisted of a collection of water slides so fast they were like free falls, on a spongy mat you just barely gripped with your finger tips, water flying everywhere so you had to keep your eyes closed. It was a complete blast. I love speed. I couldn't get Brooke to do it, but man -- it was awesome. At one point, I raced this ultra-cute guy, and we both burst into laughter in the pool at the bottom as if we'd been friends forever.

Another highlight from the water park: Cole decided to have one of his only meltdowns (two the entire Labor Day weekend, including one after driving for 5 hours, which almost doesn't count) in the parking lot just as we were all lathered up with sunscreen and ready to head in. He had a fit for such a dumb reason I won't honor it with explanation (okay, he wanted me to give him chewable Tylenol, which Brooke had just given her son for a bonafide headache). So there he is, lying across the back seat in total, stubborn, freak-out, while we all stood in the parking lot half dressed, dodging other cars parking all around us. I was PISSED. And he'd had a decent breakfast and everything!

So he comes out of the back seat, all vim and vigor, ready to launch into another tirade about me being an uncaring mother because I wouldn't give him drugs willy-nilly, and suddenly, WHAP!! He turns around and there is a HUGE splatter of bird crap all over his back! It was green and disgusting, and covered almost his entire back and had splashed also onto the car. We were all pretty much dumbfounded and then laughing hysterically. The stupid Tylenol tantrum was over and I wiped him off, all of us giggling, and into the park we went.

I call that divine intervention.

So much more about the weekend is worth telling -- eating oysters that Brooke's husband grew and harvested, the striper he caught, how great the kids were together, cuddling with my little guy and sleeping late in Brooke's comfy bed, the amazing, intangible, life-sustaining, unconditional love and easy laughter you can only have with a friend who's been there through every single dumb, awful, and great moment of your life since you were seven years old....

But yoga was good tonight, I'm eating this amazing Manchego cheese, and there are dreams to get to.

Breathing still.