A great lesson of recovery has been the value I place on the present: my today. The men in the rooms have, over time, guided me to a place where truly each day, each moment is special. It’s called marveling in the ordinary…and I do. I tend to have a good time, and often a great time…in the ordinary. I tend to…sing a happy song.

Life, of course, gets in the way of plans. As such, and with the above in mind, it’s no wonder that two recent weekends were so memorable.

First, there was Mothers Day Weekend 2010, (otherwise known as “The Weekend About Nothing.”)

The sun shined that Friday afternoon as I dropped the Shafrans off. It was early yet, and staring at a self-imposed 48-hour Columbus respite, I had no plans. I was, in fact, to fill two days to the brim…extemporaneously.

Coffee in Bexley: Sunshine, Starbucks, and Ermine. That evening: Mark Bradford’s exhibit at the Wexner Center For The Performing Arts. It was my first time at the museum and not only my first exposure to Bradford, but also to abstract art.

Nine-ish—we were walking through a narrow hall of black rectangles (I think it was, as a whole called “Mickey Mouse.”) Noticing a rip in the fabric, I pointed it out: “Look!” I exclaimed, (thinking it was flawed). “That’s the artwork!” she replied. (I kept my mouth shut for the next hour).

A bit later, still walking the museum, but for the moment…alone…I saw a stack of old record albums. There were four, perhaps five… on a table. Intrigued, I was reaching to peruse the old titles when a uniformed lady interrupted.

“Please don’t touch the exhibit,” she coaxed. (Who knew?) This was a place for Harriet Grail—not me. I was a fish out of water…but a happy fish. It was, however, all good.

Like this past weekend: Stacy was in town at her mother’s…here to support  The Gathering Place’s Sunday 5K.  The little one had plans the front end Saturday night and wanted to convene after ten.

“I’m busy, Rooney.”
“Do you want me to break a commitment? If you really want me to I will.”
“No……then will you come to the race tomorrow instead?”
“Sure…will your mother be there?”
“You bet—why do you care?”

(It wasn’t that I cared…it’s just that…)
“It’s not appropriate, Stacy. We are no longer married.” (I said in fun, to a degree).

And so it was that bright and early Sunday I drove to Beachwood Place for The Race For The Place. (Again, nothing I had remotely planned on).

After ten minutes Stacy approached frantically; she’d forgotten something. Having just traipsed a quarter mile from my parking spot I was less-than-thrilled when she urged me to go WITH HER MOTHER to retrieve the items left behind on Woodway.

The Old Bruce would have balked. “Doesn’t she drive? Can’t she go alone?” Yesterday, though, smiling, I accompanied the bearer of my children.

The ignition turned…and the symphony began:

“Bruce, “ she said,” you need to learn how to drive. “Bruce,…your car!”
Ah, the familiar backbeat!

She meant well, I’m sure…but still: “Bruce, make a right at the next street.”
(Really. Like I’d forget! Hadn’t I dropped off a check every Friday since the Truman administration?)

Oddly, though, I was having fun. No war; no throwing in her face that she shared a birthday with Saddam Hussein (April 28)—none of that! Moreover, noting it was Sunday, I merely laughed off her shrie to slow for the school zone. When she followed with yet another request that I slow down anyway, I did what any self-respecting ex-husband would have done: poker-faced, I accelerated.

Pulling into her drive, parking the car, I sat singing outside as she rummaged inside for Stacy’s goods.

She bolted out a bit later, and we returned to the race. Passing on the first parking spots, looking to upgrade, I sensed her mood was souring. So be it—Exiting the car, quietly reveling in my (infantile) fun, I urged her to “Take the red bag—it’s Stacy’s.” “Not needed,” she replied, now exuding the warmth of an Army WAC; (she was being nice, but was clearly feeling the hour’s stress).

The lot was filling—bodies all over. Navigating the grassy knoll, we found our daughter. Evaporating for a bit—off to work the crowd—I was soon approached by a laughing ex (NEVER a good sign).

“Stacy needs the red bag.”

I was off again…solo. Back to the car to get the bag that SHE didn’t take after SHE didn’t drive. Clearly, I had already done my 5K.

Returning once more I gave Rooney the bag. By now throngs of multi-aged, T-shirted walkers were lined ten-abreast, ready to march the perimeter of the mall. Bodies and bodies and bodies of women, men and infants with no makeup and minimal posture…(Picture the Exodus from Egypt).

Shortly thereafter I left…walked a mile and left…smiling from ear to ear.
It was a beautiful time. All the nonsense….all the ordinary. Pulling away I remembered an old Melanie song. Yearning for escape she’d once crooned “Wish I could find a good book to live in—wish I could find a good book…”

Melanie, it seemed, had missed the boat. What’s wrong, I wondered, with the book of Life?


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