Sidelined for 3 L-O-N-G weeks by a knee injury has left me with the unexpected gift of thought. Not being able stand for any length of time or walk around  means that other than reading countless magazines, watching every cooking and DIY show (I have quite the list of projects for my poor husband!) and perusing the internet – I have had plenty of time to re-visit memories, examine and re-evaluate relationships . Some people have come so clearly into focus that I wonder how long I’ve been wearing emotional sunglasses…and why have I?

When you get the chance to stop and think without the normal, everyday distractions – you really have to wonder –  how it is possible that you could be seemingly so in charge of your life and yet have regularly wandered around carelessly aimless on your life’s many diverse paths?

There are so many truly wonderful, caring, kind and loving people in your life – people who enrich, inspire and support you and they are the treasures that contribute to and share in making the journey of life the miracle it is. I have been reveling in how fortunate I am to have these beauties in my life.

On the other hand, it becomes disconcertingly  clear just how many “hangers-on” there are in your midst. In some ways they have been hiding in plain sight all along and yet, truth be told, you invited them in…well, that will teach your for buying emotional sunglasses at the dollar store!

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The Friendship Brick

March 22, 2018

Sometimes a friendship drifts…. and as flexible as you believe you are, somehow you just can’t quite reach them and the most frustrating thing is that they are standing there, right at your fingertips – or are they? Maybe you are just being fooled by the illusion of the shadow of the friend you once had.

The very things that attracted you to this person, the sass and laughter – that wonderful unspoken understanding when you look at each other and just “know” what the other is thinking – the private language that develops between close friends and the deep trust that makes you feel safe… all of that has been melting away little by little over time and like a marriage that starts out as an incredible whirlwind romance but as each of you grows in different directions it fades into a cloud of criticism. Suddenly, it seems that you are not enough for them – not available enough, not supportive enough, just not in tune enough  – or so goes the talk behind your back. I think deep down your hearts stay the same but the curve balls of life are sometimes more difficult to catch and they change each one of you more than you anticipated…and sadly, you learn that the unbreakable strength of your relationship has been replaced by a fragile thread. It’s an unspoken break-up that no one wants to accept, and the disappointment of this realization feels like such a betrayal and yet – is it? Or is it just that some relationships simply come due – run out of steam….and you run out of room in your life.

The most painful part is that there can still be glimmers of the good times – the moments when you are both “one.” There is the occasional exchange of the knowing glance, the shared joke –  and you can still manage to occasionally  finish each others sentence and burst into laughter at the same joke.

Someone once told me that the only constant in life – is change.

Change – it’s probably one of the most difficult things for us to accept…but accept it I do, because as much as it breaks my heart, I must  – because she has become a brick and  is pulling me down to a place I don’t want to end up ….and it’s time for me to re-surface.

The 5 O’Clock

February 28, 2018

I have a friend who is leaving…again. We went through the same scenario 15 years ago when she moved with her family clear across the country and as luck would have it, it was at one of the worst times in my life. I was going through my own personal crisis and so needed her. Yet – despite the 3,00 miles between us, we still managed to keep up our “5 O’Clock”  – that’s what we called it when we lived a mere 4 blocks apart and called each other everyday on the phone at the witching hour; dinner prep/ homework with our older kids.

Now, she is moving again – but this time, for herself. She is an empty-nester and changing career paths by being back in school and is also caring for an aging mother on the side. I will, of course, miss her more than words can say – mostly because I have always relied on her just “being there” and recently came to the realization that I didn’t appreciate that fact and took it for granted, It recently dawned on me that there were times when she felt completely alone (kids aside) and I was busy and consumed with living my own life and juggling my family, and life had become increasingly complicated with a terminally ill parent ….but you know what I realized? While those are perfectly good reasons – they are not a good enough excuse to leave a friendship unattended – to leave a friend floating out on the big sea of life on a little raft. Of course, I was not her only friend; there were others who could have stepped up to the plate – but I can only accept my part of the responsibility, and I do.

….sadly, truth be told –  the 5 O’Clock has long since passed in our lives….but maybe there is room for the new, early morning call (thank you menopause 🙂 )

 

Fairweather Friends

June 4, 2016

FRIEND. Everyone seems to have their own interpretation of that word.

It can mean everything pure and true that your heart can hold – or it can mean the vaguest of air kisses – emptiness at its fullest.

What I have learned is that there is a tremendous responsibility to the word “Friend” – a responsibility that a lot of people are completely incapable of, although they are always the ones who pride themselves on being so supportive. Yet they unwittingly disappoint by neglecting to follow through on all of their words….their empty words…words that they believe are wrapping you up in a warm and comforting invisible hug. Truth is, all they are wrapping you up in, is spiritual plastic wrap.

Then there are the people who surprise you. The people who come out from the tiny, hidden corners in your life that you forgot existed; either quietly on their own or in a warm circle  – and with arms wide open they envelope you, they hold you up and face you forward. What a lovely unexpected gift.

Friend. Someone we should all strive to be every day -somehow …even in the smallest way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coffee Club

September 12, 2014

Yesterday I met an old friend for a long overdue coffee. It was wonderful. It was like old times and always, all at the same time. We used to meet once a week – every week with a third friend, at this same coffee shop – back when our youngest children were babies. We lovingly coined this day as Coffee Club. It was the day that we hashed and re-hashed and solved both our own motherhood troubles as well as solved all the world’s crisis’ – or at least decided on what we were going to make for dinner that night.

Here we were again, re-kindling our Coffee Club – just the two of us this time.  My friend had left her job a few months ago to help her mother care for her aging father. She was going to move to another town – a 10 hour drive from here. Six weeks in – she realized that this new move was not going to work out for her and her son…at least, not right now. So once again – Coffee Club was in effect to try to shed some light and make an effort to set a path for a new future for her. I asked her what her thoughts were on pursuing a new line of work…she said she wasn’t sure. She wondered if she should go back to something that she already she knew or try something completely different – maybe even go back to school. Then our conversation turned how she just hadn’t been feeling great for the last few months…aches, pains and ailments had crept up and she was having them investigated. I chuckled and reminded her that she was “eyeballing 50” (a term I have used, in relation to myself many times over the decade – half in humor…sadly, half in truth) then laughed out loud and told her not to feel bad; Heck – I’m eyeballing retirement I told her (ok, not really… not quite yet!). We shared a giggle.

As she spoke of her increasing maladies – I showed her the index finger on my right hand, now slightly bent with its often somewhat swollen knuckle (hello arthritis – been waitin’ on you!) and thought about how my ankles applaud me as I make my way down the stairs every morning with their snap, crackle and pops accompanied by the operatic sounds that I often make when rising from a chair.  Then there’s the hip that aches when I dare to stand for an evening in heels at a cocktail party or get really crazy and dance at a wedding.

Like every other woman who is 50 – I don’t sleep…I really, really want to, and I try so hard – but my brain just spins and spirals from 2 to 4 most mornings. In fact, as I lay awake this morning at 2am, I thought myself that it was a good thing we had Coffee Club in the morning – otherwise I am sure I would still be awake by 6…in time to greet the alarm.

Seriously. I would make a good rich person. I don’t want to be filthy rich -as in “I have no idea what to do today” rich. I just want to  be able to pay off my mortgage (you know that big thing that hangs over your head?), help a few friends out, give the local schools and libraries a break…that kind of thing. Not media spotlighting philanthropy – just honest to goodness assistance to a handful of people whose life you could make a difference in. I’d still work – maybe a little less – but I’d still work. Mostly because I like my job and I think I make a difference, but I’d have more time to fulfill some of my deepest dreams and desires and still have some energy to spare.

See? On paper and in black and white – I would make a good rich person….

Now – if only the lottery would co-operate!

In light of my friend – I’m now thinking that some things are better left unsaid. No matter how sad something might make you feel, it isn’t always up to us to “fix” things for others. People are generally in their plight for unknown reasons to us or to them – it’s part of their journey in life to find the reason, not ours. We only need to be concerned about our own lessons – but there’s always room for kindness and compassion.