My husband and I were party planning the other night.
Not for us.
Our oldest son is turning seven in June. Suddenly, he’s a real kid with dreams, hopes, questions, ideas and disappointments. Fresh diapers, warm milk and simple snuggles aren’t the answer anymore, to anything. We’ve come a long way, baby.
Seven-year-old tears are way more complicated than six-month-old tears.
At any moment the dialog begins, and the listening, and the questions. Oh, the questions. Unlike my four-year-old (a small but worthy opponent), my eldest is somewhat reasonable. As such, I had high hopes for our conversation a few nights ago.
The theme of the week was friendship, and my hopes were quickly and unapologetically dashed when he shook his head sadly.
Mama, this friendship might be lost. Lost.
Stubborn, angry eyes dared me to protest as he confirmed, It’s over!
As a huge advocate for friendship, I would do nearly anything to prevent such a thing. I listened and talked and offered suggestions. I wasn’t prepared for him to dissolve his sweet friendship with the boy who had been at his side nearly all year.
Sometimes unexpectedly and nearly always regretfully, I’ve lost a few friends over the years. They still have a place in my heart, and because I can’t kick them out of my heart, there they will reside.
Since practically day one of first grade, our son found a kindred spirit in a gentle, sweet, funny child I’ll call T. Miles and T have been close friends for several months, sharing their love of sharks, other sea creatures, and fishing. Recently their friendship has been tested by the appeal of other boys, their own ideas and experiences, and general first grade life stuff.
By the end of last week, I was fully confident that he will end this first grade year having experienced wonderful first grade relationships and frustrating situations where he had or has to compromise, navigate, defend or let go. Letting go, in particular, is not easy for our headstrong eldest son.
Ah friendship. If he only knew what lies ahead.
This morning I rose at 4:35 am EST (let me remind you readers that I live in Pacific time) because there are very loud singing birds at my parents’ house in Virginia. I spent the next twelve hours navigating the streets of Virginia, Washington DC and Maryland with a colleague in order to visit a number of energetic, thoughtful and attractive farmers markets — because this is my job, and this part is awesome.
But I digress.
Before I left the house, I downed a quick coffee with my father and his close friend, whom I’ll call G. G and my father evidently also rose before dawn, and I’m not sure why. When I came downstairs at 5 o’clock in the morning, weary, they were bright eyed and laughing.
Happy Hour starts at 5 o’clock in the EVENING, guys.
Anyway back to friendship. They’ve been friends for over 40 years, so I gave them a pass for such bright eyed early cheerfulness.
Last weekend I had the extreme pleasure of hosting seven (SEVEN!) of my dearest friends for a girls’ getaway and belated birthday celebration. My 40th birthday set the wheels in motion, but really, truly, any excuse to spend time with each and any or all of these extraordinary women is a gift.
One by one they arrived at Portland International Airport, or in the case of two, headed straight for the Oregon Coast. Friday afternoon we met in Arch Cape, Oregon, where we proceeded to talk and talk and talk, break for water and wine and puzzling, and talk some more.
There was a hot tub.
There was rain and wind and pouring rain.
And more rain.
To my delight and surprise there was also a wildly fantastic basket full of treats that showcased my eclectic love for 1930s Frida Kahlo and her decor, good coffee, rich chocolate, excellent wine, and inspiration for running.
I have to confess that my friends know me well.
I don’t know why this truth makes me teary. Obviously anyone who writes a public blog lacks some sense of indiscretion, so there shouldn’t be anything the matter with acknowledging that people understand me, or at least get me in some meaningful way.
Blogging — this sharing of lessons and learnings and thoughts – it only tells but a bit of a private story, you see, and sometimes I have come across as optimistic, while at other times depressed, or perhaps some kind of hybrid experiment in humanity.
I don’t quite feel one hundred percent optimistic nor deterred from moving forward tonight.
Cautiously, I’ll keep writing this blog.
And in any case, I remain filled to overflowing and grateful for the love of the seven gentle, spirited, beautiful, smart, funny, curious, and INCREDIBLE women with whom I spent a few days last week. Their support, love and laughter over the years cannot adequately be revealed — but I would not be where or who I am today with out them.
And a special shout out to my youngest sister.
She is a star. That is enough.
Given that most of us are always learning, evolving and being, I used the present tense of the quote below: I have the privilege to meet you… even the seven women whom I know and love dearly, I still invite them to meet me, and humbly ask to continue to meet them.
I should also note that there were a few of my dear ones that weren’t able to join us this time, and when I think about having them there, too, my heart just about explodes – it’s almost like too much friendship, except there’s no such thing.
Here’s looking at what tomorrow will bring for all of us, and I hope we can experience it together.