Saturday, December 13, 2008

Jewish penicillin

Generations of Jewish mothers have believed that chicken soup has restorative powers. And if it doesn’t, so can it kill you?

My latest doses of the remedy have come by way of my ex. Last week he brought me a quart of wonton soup, a modern day, Chinese-American variation, and he laughed when he saw the way I guzzled and relished the delicious broth.

This evening he called as I was out picking up a prescription and informed me he’d just made a big pot of his own delicious version. Would I want to stop by for some on my way home?

I did. And it was truly wonderful. I had dinner of salad and chicken soup with him and his girlfriend. They treated me royally.

I need to say a few words about my ex.

Divorce isn’t easy… no kidding. I’ve never regretted ours, though it hasn’t always been easy in the last ten years since, or especially in the years leading up to it. But it gave both of us our lives back and allowed us to become better friends.

The past several months I’ve had some very serious problems to deal with and he has been a tremendous help to me. I had to come to grips with some of my own demons in order to ask for and fully get his attention, but once I did, he was there.

Most recently, he has been extremely concerned about my health, and helpful beyond anything I would have expected at less stressful times when it's easier to keep at arms length. He picks things up for me, brings me food, drives me places, and sits and keeps me company when he sees I’m ailing. He’s observant and smart, and knows firsthand what kind of distress I’ve been in, and he’s reacted empathetically. In short, he’s been terrific.

This should come as relief to some of you who have heard anecdotes about some of our less pleasant interactions. His behavior can leave people scratching their heads, but I’ve always believed in his basic decency (well, almost always). The past months, and the chicken soup, have brought that home to me very clearly!

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