I got the the news on Wednesday that our school auction suddenly had extra tickets for the big mojito party held Friday night.
"Join 75 women adorned in decorated flip flops, drink mojitos made by handsome men, enjoy a healthy buffet dinner you do not have to prepare and get free massages -- all for a good cause." Yes, Friday was free. How could I not go?
I paid $25 for my ticket (there was no amount specified) and shored up my courage to socialize with the perfect North Seattle housewives who, turns out, had all purchased $75 tickets in a drunken impulse at the school fund raiser last month.
I arrived promptly so I would be first in line for a massage. I collected a cocktail, ascertained the location of the massage room and received two massages before the other chairs filled up. Back upstairs I sat with two Kindergarten moms – they looked so young. I tried not to freak them out (too much) about the perils of 2nd graders surfing without protection or the joys of parenting a newly hatched teen (did I mention egging adventures earlier? Oh yes, that’s all I can mention these days.)
I saw only a couple of familiar faces. I am in the last year of having children at this school. My 5th grader waits outside for me when I have to pick her up.
Then back down for another massage, I wait in line with my mojito and chat with a woman who works at Children’s Hospital. Yes, she hires freelance writers. I get her number after spilling many personal details about my 5 year divorce journey. Will it help or hurt me that her mother had no money when she first divorced and no one jumped in to rescue her? I confess to her I’m a little envious of a friend whose child has leukemia, because her life, though trying, is filled with a loving husband, Microsoft money, flexibility and a boat they can sail away from their problems in on the weekend.
Yes, I don’t share the details of my life often. But once in a while it helps to dump it all out and sort through it – like that messy purse of mine. The second mojito was the lubricant. (Better than any carrot juice). And when we spoke of community support, it seemed to us that the visible crises are the traumas we agree we can dive in to rescue. Cancer. The sudden death of a husband. The lost job. But a struggle with a partners addiction? Not often. Nor a suicide attempt, mental illness and instability, parenting your special needs children with no support because your ex is unable to lend a hand. These unspoken events remain hidden from the compassion radar.
Last night I could let it all go in the softness of the massage chair. The kneading of the tight muscles of my shoulders. The $25 deal I decided I’d give myself --a sliding scale of support from my wonderful embracing community.