I immediately shuffled her into my office and sat her down on my old leather sofa that is wonderfully cracked and timeless. It had been in my fathers office for years so it is riddled with wonderful memories. but his desk I have a large bookshelf in my office that tells the story of my journey in life. Books on everything relevant to my life experience - from parenting, cooking, relationships, motherhood, pregnancy, divorce, death, buying a home, the stock market, losing a parent, bibles, every Internet for dummies possible, poetry, opera, evolution, mythology, classics such as The Grapes of Wrath and Moby Dick, my father's Medical journals and the list goes on.
As I comforted her with words, I anxiously searched for a book that I have had since I was 18. It is called "Women and The Blues". It is a book that is a wonderful reference for every possible difficulty that a woman could face in her lifetime. I purchased it at the time that I too had a major heartache. I remember reading the six page passage called "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do" over and over again. It was wonderfully soothing and helpful. I have held on to this book and have consoled over twelve friends with the words on the six pages of this particular chapter. This book is practically falling apart as it has traveled with me on all of my moves thus far. I love to get rid of things but this book survived the test of time. A reference book that is still applicable in this day is priceless. Time may pass and the latest ipad may come with wings but one thing will the same is the intense pain of a broken heart and the time that it takes to heal.
To this day, I still recall the pain of my first love. I was 13 years old- that alone is alarming for me to think about. How could I feel such intensity at such a young and tender age. Apparently the passionate Sicilian side of my personality had clearly evolved a bit early. I met him in 7th grade reading class, we sat next to each other in the 'back. I was stylish, well-traveled and the daughter of a doctor. He was rugged, older looking, extremely insightful and according to my parents - "was not the boy for me". They judged him by his jeans and leather jacket. My brothers went to Fairfield Country Day- the men and boys in my world all looked like they stepped out of Vineyard Vines or Brooks Brothers. This boyfriend did not stand a chance. None of them every really did-- I was the youngest and only girl in an Italian family. My Father confirmed this the night before my wedding. It was a special time and a wonderful opportunity to be alone with my parents at The Patterson Club.
My Father started discussing how he and my Mother had a similar upbringing. They were both Italian, Catholic, family oriented, well educated with similar life goals. He made it a point to mention that my ex husband and I came from opposite backgrounds. I asked my Father if he would be thrilled with anyone and he replied with a big smile- "probably not". I smiled back and felt relieved knowing that my Father would never think anyone would be good enough for me.
Prior to my marriage- I have had two major heartaches. The first was my 8th grade boyfriend and the second was with Hector. That one was the worst. We were together for seven years and we were madly in love. We spent every moment together and talked about everything for hours at a time. We had such a wonderful connection on every possible level. He was a businessman and when I met him he owned a Benetton store on Boylston street. He worked very hard and loved fashion. He had a chiseled face and truly was tall, dark and handsome. More importantly he was such a gentleman, he was kind-hearted and was raised by a single mother who taught him how to truly treat a female. At a young age, he had sophistication and was extremely respectful, insightful and driven. Women loved him and I recall being jealous as they paraded out of the dressing rooms half naked... desiring his eyes on them. Who could blame them- he was gorgeous, impeccibly dressed and such a gentleman. I never worried about him being unfaithful. He wouldn't dream of it- he just isn't that type of person. He was honest, blunt and if you didn't like his thinking- too bad for you. Did I mention that he was Colombian- the machismo was alive and well with him. He had a stubborn streak in his youth which meant that when I brought him home- He was NOT taking his earring out.
My parents are wonderfully kind but extremely conservative and sophisticated. Do not I beg of you- if you are interested in dating me- DO NOT - insist on wearing an earring despite the fact that you are who you are... Please don't be you for a day or so.. for the love of God- spare me and you might stand a chance.
If you don't look like you stepped out of an Ivy League school- you better regroup and get reoutfitted, if only for the day. I laugh aloud as I write this because my Mother always used to say to me. "I love a clean-cut preppy look- don't you".In my youth, I in fact gravitated toward a more European look.
In Boston all my friends were European, Middleeastern or South American. They dressed in Armani and Hugo Boss and wore Lucky jeans. They shopped at Barney's and the mens department at Saks. They were not wearing Khaki' s and penny loafters. My parents did not enjoy this "trendy" and "fashionable" look. Men in Fairfield County tend to be preppy- which now- I happen to love- however back then- I enjoyed the allure of the foreign man.
This drove my father insane- "why can't you find a nice "Italian-American" man and honestly I only had met one that was of interest to me. I introduced him to my family once and they loved him. He was the only man they liked for me in all of my dating history. They saw something that I was too young to understand. His background, work ethic, values and understanding were the same as mine. Too bad- we could have had it all.... perhaps one day we will reconnect... until then... I will continue to advise young girls and women on how to navigate through the perils of dating. The same rules apply to a 17 year old as they do to an 80 year old. Treat the man you like - like the one you don't and bingo-he won't go away!! Just kidding but that does sort of work.
I truly have knowledge in the relationship department. I didn't end up with my Colombian boyfriend but to this day he is one of my best friends. Interesting how he married an Italian girl and I married a Latin boy. Not too hard to figure that one out...
My babysitter was better after I spent an hour with her. I shared with her the losses in my life. She commented that she didn't know how I did it and had such great children and a great life. I wanted her to know that the pain fades with time. That despite the ache and hurt and pain she is experiencing, she will love again. I told her that this won't be the first of losses.. that life is not fair sometimes and I told her how I had to let go of my marriage and my dreams.
I told her that I too had that horrible broken hearted feeling and I knew how bad it was. Most importantly I wanted to instill in her at a young age that she is a strong girl. I told her to focus on her spirituality and to work on becoming a strong person. I left her with four books and headed out for the evening.
When I arrived home- she was better. Poor thing- I truly feel for her but no one can escape a broken heart. I believe it is better to experience it first when you are young. It will take away the fear of loving as one will see that when it happens again, you will endure and be stronger for the experience.
All of these episodes define our soul and craft our character. Your life is a book and I told her that this was a mere paragraph. She will be great in a few months- I guarantee it as I will be her coach. Im taking her out to lunch once a week until I see her back to her smiling self. My friend - give it time- you will survive. xo