It was Labor Day weekend almost 4 years ago. I was at the beach with my parents, spending a few lazy days looking out onto the ocean, eating delicious food and catching up on much needed sleep.
While the beach is an amazing place to escape to over the summer, there’s lots of sitting around that takes place. Sitting around on the sand. Sitting around with family. Sitting around after dinner. And I don’t fair particularly well with lots of sitting around, as my mind tends to wander.
During this particular visit my mind was wandering to my ex-boyfriend and the photos I had recently seen of him on a romantic vacation with another girl, traveling around France and looking happy. The same ex-boyfriend that I had been involved with on-and-off for over half a decade.
The truth was, we had been broken up for a long time, yet stayed somewhat in each other’s lives. We were so young (19 and 20) when we met, but fell pretty hard and immediately became best friends. But he was from another country, so after 7 months of living in the same place, and almost another year trying to make something work overseas, I couldn’t handle a non-exclusive transatlantic relationship, so we set each other free. Free to meet and be with whomever we wanted. But it never stung any less knowing, and seeing, him gallivanting around with other girls.
On this particular family weekend by the beach, my mom could immediately tell that something was bothering me (they can always tell), which led me to confess about the recent photos I had seen and how thinking about them – the photos as well as my ex-boyfriend and the new girl – hurt so much.
Every mother wants to see her daughter loved and cherished. Not heartbroken and frustrated, yearning for something that doesn’t exist anymore…and quite possibly never will. So this obviously bothered her to hear.
But this wasn’t the first time she was bothered by the mention of him. There had been times over the years that my mom and I would argue about this ex-relationship. She couldn’t stand that he would show up, reach out and never follow through with anything substantial (and I couldn’t stand it either). She wanted my love life to be wrapped up in a pretty little bow – as the love lives of a few of her friends’ daughters were – but that wasn’t happening for me. And she often blamed it on this particular ex, which drove me crazy.
As I packed up my suitcase at the end of that long weekend by the beach, feeling a bit out of sorts from my wandering mind, my mom walked over to me. While I thought I would hear yet another lecture about “moving on”, she instead started to place her Ganesh necklace around my neck. For those of you who don’t know, Ganesh is the Hindu god of wisdom symbolizing the removal of obstacles. It has the head of an elephant and the body of a human and is often found as a charm on yoga-inspired jewelry, such as the necklace my mom was wearing.
“I want you to wear it”, she said as she tried to push it over my pile of frizzy hair that was whipped into a messy bun sitting on top of my head. At first, I refused it because it was her favorite new necklace, but she insisted.
For years my mom was the last person to believe in spirituality and all that comes with it. But lately, with her newfound love of Yoga, she embraced the Yogi life, and with that, Ganesh. “I hope that Ganesh helps you battle the obstacles that you’re facing”, she whispered lovingly.
Now, at many other moments I would have made some snarky comment and laughed at her for making such a corny remark. Especially because she is my logical, rational, lawyer-of-a-mother who never used to believe in something like that power of a charm necklace. But at that particular moment, I nodded and accepted it.
Maybe it was ridiculous to think that a gold charm necklace featuring an elephant sitting in the cross-legged Buddha pose would help mind wander away from images of my past love, loving someone else. But it was nice to know that something so meaningful was sitting around my neck as I ventured back home and continued on my quest to find the love that I deserved.