So, this summer I watched a recently produced documentary about Mick Jagger that was just captivating. He isn't at all how I thought he would be -- jaded, cocky, swaggering, disinterested. He is actually a very tender, hands-on sort of father -- particularly with the little ones. I suspect he probably learned his lesson the hard way from having been so consistently absent from the lives of his older children whilst traipsing about the globe tagging enormous amounts of top-shelf cooter and singing Jumpin' Jack Flash for the unwashed masses. Those older children, by the way, have now made Sir Mick a grandfather. And life goes on.
The scene I loved the most by far is the one where he was participating in The Parents' Play Day at his daughter, Georgia's, school. Georgia, who is whipsmart and has impeccably charming manners, looks to be about ten and also to be the apple of her father's eye. She had him out there running relays in his socks like a madman, completely unconcerned that he is the world's greatest living rock star; to Georgia, as it should be, he is just her father. The best part of the scene, however, is the interplay between Mick and his 93 year old father, Joe Jagger, who watches the days activities unfold from the sidelines, in a lawn chair seated next to his famous son. A retired schoolteacher with an elfin face, he is still spry and sharp. Sitting peacefully in the shade of a huge, old tree next to his father, Mick reveals that had he not gone into music, both he and his brother would have been teachers, just like their dad. "After all," adds the man who once famously warned not to trust anyone over the age of 30, "we all eventually turn into our parents in the end, don't we?" His wizened father just smiled beside him. I was completely charmed...and am sad to have heard that old Joe Jagger passed away this week. The world is most certainly a poorer place without him in it.
Another memorable scene has Mick sort of wandering through his London home, pointing out assorted paintings and bric-a-brac and giving their history and background...as well as giving some background on himself, as well. He explains that his attitude towards marriage and family is actually a very bohemian, Old World take on things in that when he becomes involved in a relationship, he goes at it fully, with all of his heart. But relationships, like anything else in life, sometimes run their course, or don't work out at all. This, he says, is no reason not to remain a family, not to continue on with those relationships in another form. This is how he lives his life. Just because he is no longer married to or otherwise romantically involved with the mothers of his children, doesn't mean they are not treated with the same respect and familial affection as those who might currently live under the same roof as him. He dotes on them all. They all remain his family.
Hearing Mick's theories on love and marriage made me smile because they are exactly the same as my own. I have, without exception, always remained good friends with my exes; to me, it is simply good form to do so. These are people with whom I once joyously shared the best parts of myself, and in turn, partook of the very best parts of them; there is no reason not to keep them close in my life. I have taught my children, by both word and deed, that unless an ex is abusive or otherwise disharmonious, they should remain a familiar resource of great friendship and comfort in one's life. After all, they already know your backstory, they know who you are; they know your heart. That in itself is a priceless commodity in our otherwise temporary, disposable, transient society.
Though I'm sure it certainly comes as no surprise to people who know me well, I have also encouraged my husband to remain close with his exes...and have even become good friends with one of them myself. She has stayed in my home, laid in a huge familial puppy pile on our bed reading the Sunday paper, become an honorary aunt to my children, and dragged me along on her neverending quest for the perfect pair of shoes. And why shouldn't I adore her? We are both fierce, powerful women, the contents spilling from her bookcases and mine are almost comically identical, and we love/have loved the same extraordinary man.
In the circles in which I run, those are the ties that bind.