We smeared mud on our bodies, the clay was cold.
We did it gently at first, wishing we could just climb into the pot and immerse our whole selves.
We watched as it dried. The sun warmed our bodies deeply and the mud cracked and aged us. We compared wrinkles, real ones and future ones. Julie made sure her new (and admittedly very sexy) bathing suit did not get ruined. We spent the day, this glorious New Mexican Autumn day at the Hot Springs. The aspens are just beginning to turn yellow and the light is the very same as described by DH Lawrence.
It’s a 45-minute drive through mesa, over the Rio Grande Gorge, past some old adobe ruins and not much else.
With the windows open, the smell of the sage permeated our very selves.
We rinsed off and sat in the warm mud pool while disobeying the “Please Whisper” signs. We got an evil eye from one soaker. We laughed loudly and they asked questions. They wanted some answers—they had some presumption that I knew what I was doing in this life. Ha!
It is true, my kids have turned out okay (Well, honestly, they are pretty phenomenal). They are alive and made it through most of their childhood relatively unscathed. They are happy, glowing young women—motivated and determined.
I do have a sexy, loving and nurturing husband. Partner. Lover. Friend. Yes! It worked out and yes, yes, yes it took some work and some bumps and grinds and lumps and hard stuff too. I’m proud of us; proud of the work that went into our relationship.
But honestly, I bumble through it all, just like they do. It’s that perfection thing—I’m very good at it.
It’s easy to have life appear perfect on the outside; it made them want clues, tips and lessons—“Ten ways to have great kids and a cute husband.” I wish I could spell it out for them. But look closely, see inside me—you will feel the worry, the pain and the many messy emotions.
You will also see the coffee in bed, the talks, the beauty of family life—this little tribe. Tea in the evenings and fire in the fireplace, crickets outside, dogs lolling about inside. You will observe the constant questioning.
Am I doing this right? Is this the way to raise my girls? To love my husband?
It’s a deep, dark ride with joy, ecstasy, fear and acceptance. Loving another human deeply is probably the most important work one can do. And the most complex.
I mess up all the time. I know nothing. I’m emotional, raw, and vulnerable too much of the time. I am open when I should be closed and closed when I should be transparent. I talk to my kids too much about things I should trust them to handle. I don’t pay enough attention to my dogs and cook lousy dinners. If at all. I run from conflict, or at least shake right through it.
I’m just as messy as you are. Really. So what I am trying say to my questioning girlfriends who fed me salad, beets, goat cheese, chocolate and pomegranate seeds (they really did!) before I dashed off back into real life is this: “I have no answers—no more than you do.”
Muddle through and love fiercely; you are just as good at this as I am.
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Assistant Ed: Karissa Kneeland/Ed: Sara Crolick
(Photo via krissalee85 on Flickr)