I spent time with a friend yesterday morning, we exchanged gifts, chatted, drank coffee, and laughed. Family members stopped by and as I watched the kids buzz around together, I realized that although the gifts were wonderful and thoughtfully planned, in that moment – just existing was the best part of the morning. Laughing, a few tears, the huge Christmas tree in the corner, everything was beautiful but the beauty of being in that moment was just being there together.
It felt like home, sitting and talking with her. And playing with her youngest; the most precious little guy…I am blessed to be his Godmother and when I think of the rest of her children there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for them.
This amazing human being, I have known for awhile. Our kids played soccer together years ago and it was their unique bond that I was gifted with this new friend. She isn’t the kind of friend who is going to come into my life at the time- it is convenient for her, no way! This is going to last for life! I will be in a walker with my dentures, my polyester pants and still will knock on her door and she on mine. She is the kind of human being that everyone should be so lucky in her presence.
I don’t know if everyone will understand this or admit to it but friendships at my age are hard to come by and it’s the people I choose and (they choose me) that is so important. Sometimes you just meet someone and it clicks and a precious seed is nurtured and a friendship begins to grow. For me, friends are no longer about the quantity you have but rather the quality of the relationships you have together. I have said it before but (the tribe) you create for yourself is a protective shell. Sometimes you meet people and there is just a spark, neither parties understand it but there is this magnetic pull that keeps you coming back together.
I have been reminded lately that life is so short. Things can change in the blink of an eye and some people don’t see it coming at all. It feels like running full speed ahead into a brick wall and I won’t break threw it, I bounce back on my butt as if I was a rubber ball hitting that wall.
In the last week, I have found out that one of my family’s dearest friends has cancer. He has just started chemo but his hands are full with work, his other children, and fiancé’. It is the most wonderful person and has been in our lives for the past 13 years. He has a wonderful sense of humor which I believe will take him far in this journey. I saw him before his treatment and I love this guy so much and we have gone through so much in our sudo-family that I couldn’t hold back some tears. I think I hugged him like four times and at the end he was reassuring me that everything would be fine.
Last night I got a call while I was watching a movie that someone I love with my whole heart, had fallen and was taken by ambulance to the hospital with a concussion and doctors were taking x-rays of her entire body. Again, I was again reminded- life is so short. Thankfully, she will only be bruised and sore but she was taken home last night. My children saw the entire fall happen and were great helpers but I could see the worry in their eyes.
I didn’t sleep well last night. My mind filled with love and prayer for these two people and their families. Life changes quickly. My friends and family were lucky at least for yesterday, they are lucky, because things could have been much worse! I have this strong desire to seize the day, carpe diem, or whatever mantra you believe in.
Care for the people who care for you and care of the people who just need to be cared for whether you know them or not. Show the world you are kind and do something for someone else this weekend without expecting anything in return. Pray for more kindness and always have faith.
I woke from a terrible nights sleep with plans to hang with a friend for the day. It was the only thing that got me going this morning. Some days it’s just the coffee, other days it’s a text, and some day’s life surprises you. It’s those days that I want every day. The ones that knock you back on your heels and something spontaneous catches you off guard. I want more of those days!
As for today, plans change as they do and my plans got cancelled so I spent an hour writing, randomly cleaning, and generally, feeling pathetic. I put that on myself, I choose to behave like a toddler. Instead of wallowing in my messy hair, pjs, and old teal slippers, I called my sister who told me to put my big girl panties on and go do something. So, I made a new plan to have a me day!
Then I got another text and plans changed again. So, rather than trying to dwell on why, when, what the hell? Should I go with my new plan or the original one? I switched gears and was in the car.
I went with it! Isn’t that what life should really be about? Just going for it. Or the cliché’ “just do it”. With in an hour, I was throwing my head back in laughter and I realized I was in the beginning of one of those days that would knock me back on me heels. There is something to be said for a day of solitude and quiet contentment but sometimes you just need another person. And yesterday I spent the day with a dear friend.
I was with one of my tribe yesterday. She gets me and laughs as much as I do and has a slightly inappropriate sense of humor and nothing is off limits. Our slightly edgy attitude I am sure makes people notice us but I think it is just because we are sincerely laughing the entire time we are together. And damn, laughter is the best medicine. (I can think of one other thing better but I will keep this PG-13.)
Funny how fast your mood can change? You can feel one way and it changes in the blink of an eye by the people you surround yourself with. Life is too short for feeling miserable in the few moments we may or may not have left in our lives on this earth. Don’t hold back, try everything, and don’t let someone else’s shit drag you down. And lately, I am trying to teach myself to stop thinking so much and stop asking why, who, what, where, and when. (Insert: I have always been an over-thinker and recently, I have been encouraged to get out of my own head!! This is powerful once you start but I have fallen off the wagon a few times.)
We started our day with an impromptu photo-shoot for me at a vineyard and I drug my friend along. Followed by some wine bottling, yes, I said wine bottling. (A first for both of us.) My wrists are killing me but I am willingly going back tomorrow for more. We bottle and capped a few hundred bottles and I was spurted about five times in the face with wine, I did have white on early today but quickly changed. Damn, was I lucky. So, I didn’t actually get to taste the wine but did as it ran down my face to my lips as I sprayed myself. (Insert: very inappropriate thought.) After a quick taste of the aged dessert wine we were off to return a few bras, get school supplies, see a movie…and in no particular order.
We talked over each other, listened to music so loud we were slightly yelling at each other, trying to figure out what to do next, and started about seven different conversations.
As we landed ourselves in Victoria’s Secret it was a great laugh to watch all the men/boys walking around a few steps behind each of their ladies…embarrassed as if they didn’t want to show that they really wanted their ladies to buy the inappropriate lacey undergarments while their ladies were only picking up the granny panties. It was awesome, we were there for an hour and I did not see a single man/boy touch a single pair of panties. (Insert: these guys are going to tear the lingerie off their woman’s body later, so why not touch it now? Baffling!) I was interested in looking at bras, panties, and sexy silk and lace things which were in one corner of the store.
Giggling to myself as I got a thong stuck on a few hangers which I could not figure out how I did and my awful attempt to untangle them with one hand, coffee and purse in my other, I shoved the shitty mess back in the rack and escaped from a lady coming toward me in her black outfit and pink measuring tape over her shoulder. (What is it about the sales women wanting to confirm your bra size? If you know what size shirt, jeans, and shoes you wear…no one ever asks you to confirm that shit…if I am shopping for a bra and panties, I don’t need that confirmed either…. especially by a woman who continuously calls everyone in the dressing room “kitten” …. yes, “kitten”! WTF! Someone needs to teach her a new word! (Side note: I have hated the word “panties” my entire life and am so proud that I now have typed it repeatedly but it will never fall from these lips! Small victories, right!) After the kitten lady gave us a loud talk about women’s bodies being soft and men loving it, after all we gave them babies…I was sincerely puzzled by her anorexia skinny body and her passion behind what she was trying to convince us of and that my friend kept trying to quiet me from laughing after the kitten lady could not figure out our issues with side boob.
Needless to say, I knocked some planners, yes, school planners from the store into the trash can and curiously tried to picture the mother who would buy a lingerie brand planner for their young daughter?? With the swipe of my credit card from the grouchiest sales girl in the store, I wanted to go get “kitten” lady to give some of her spice to “Heather”. She reeked of bad attitude and should not be allowed at any check-out counter dealing with people.
Next stop, theatre. We bought tickets to see Bad Moms which some may think, how cliché’. But all moms should watch this movie! We always go to the same theatre where you can eat, drink, and watch all in one place…that is NOT our own home!! We got there early and laughter proceeded as always and she was trying to shut me up as she laughed just as loud. The theatre was not empty and it was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. So, our laughter broke the silence up a bit. We ordered our cocktails and food and the lights dimmed. It was in that moment my kids decided to start calling me and texting me. (I promised I would always answer.) It is strange to me that they always want me when I am gone when they could walk 100 yards to the shop and ask their dad. I wasn’t going to start being a “bad mom” in that moment so I answered the phone and my one son had made an entire plan about having dinner with grandma and spending the night…and the only thing I could do where I was as the movie had started was say, “call your dad!”
The movie was perfect, I have felt all the things as a mom that were portrayed in that movie and if all of you moms out there can’t admit to feeling to at least one of those things, I just don’t believe you! It must have been senior day…because the people in the theater were either so old they don’t remember what it was like to have kids, never had kids, were on a date, or too young to simple understand the concept of being a parent! However, we were our own pair of mom’s laughing through the entire movie because it was all relative and things that we have felt and totally exaggerated!! Again, more laughter for the day!!
I came home to an empty house filled with solitude after my two drinks…something kicked in…the writer in me. I had half away made it down the hall turned the shower on half undressed and well, put my clothes back on and turned the water off. In that moment, in the quiet…I grabbed my computer and I couldn’t stop writing.
Sitting alone in my house, I wrote and laughed, wrote and laughed. Yes, out loud. So, although my day didn’t go the way I planned it would, I did figure out how to just be in the moment the entire day (I did something new bottled wine), relished in the sound of laughter, and rounded off the day doing what I am most passionate about – writing.
We travelled many trips before but this one we took by storm because of the heat we were told we would encounter as summer drew closer in Arizona.
I left Portland and she left Seattle joining forces in the Phoenix airport. Beyond the excitement of just being in this new state together and the enjoyment of embarking on another sister trip we simply couldn’t contain ourselves. We were interrupting each other and laughing as we wandered to the rental car counter and bounced about like young girls with pigtails in a make-believe world. Neither of us could get a word in edge wise. We filled out paperwork and as always argued about who would pay.
Our rolling suitcases trailed behind and we were off to find our car. This car was claimed to be an upgrade but from what I do not know. Not any bigger than a smurf’s turd, our tan car was squeaky clean and we rolled off to take on this state.
One of the best things about our trips is that we are open to anything that comes our way. There is always adventure, some fear (for me, anyway), a little ass kickin’ of both of ours, a challenge, laughter, outdoors, staying up late, and the most amazing conversations that makes me relish in the moment…exist in that one second and breathe deep to not miss a thing. I know everyone has their favorite person, and she is mine!! (Listen up! I am not slighting my husband in anyway, he is “my” person. But it is distinctly different than a sister.)
I am behind the wheel and getting myself situated in a car that has no power what so ever and feels like I am driving a steel tank from the 80’s we circle around the inside loop of the airport. She is looking at a map, the airport signs to get on the freeway, and digging in her purse for chap stick. We are still enthralled in conversation and laughter as we continue in the largest round about in the world.
She is searching for music and honestly, I think she noticed first that we were passing the rental car exit from the airport again. Not only did we exit there with our rental car but we had now finished a complete circle, she laughed that glorious, addicting laugh while looking slightly irritated. I had no option to change directions or stop on the side of the road.
If you have been to the Phoenix airport, you know what it is like to leave that airport or at least, now you know how hard it was for me to ‘try” and leave that airport for the first time. There is no way of knowing if I could leave it again without making the same mistake.
She instructs me to pay attention and get my shit together as she dumps the map because we still haven’t left the terminal gate. I begin to circle over my first tracks and am determined not to circle the entire airport again. I wait for my sister to tell me something.
It’s four lanes wide…what the hell lane was I supposed to be in?? We continue to find the situation hilarious and know we are going to be late getting to where we were supposed to be. She shouts, “exit there” and in our gutless smurf turd, I floor it and shoot across the other three lanes of traffic to an actual exit from the airport. What the hell? It took us over 30 minutes to get the hell out of there!
My sister is back on map duty and the city scape starts to disappear, it’s dry, hot, and the freeway stretches behind us and in front of us for miles. My blood pressure drops now that we have actually left the airport and we start chatting in a calm manner, excitement fills the car, and what are plans are for the week; while miles and miles pass. Maybe eight songs run through the radio in their entirety and we wonder how close we are to our destination.
We start to actually pay attention to the freeway signs and wonder what town is next. Map reading, her head is down and I report, “we are 38 miles to Tucson.” She looks at me puzzled, in an empty stare and says, “wait, what? Isn’t that the wrong direction?” In my stammer, I look at her laughing and make the statement, “I don’t know?” Annoyed, she looks back at me, “what the fuck?” She looks up from the map and declares, “we have to turn around,” which is hysterical to me and frustrating to her. I figured it was as good a time as any to ask her, how far out of the way did we actually travel??
Again, we exit and turn the car around to get headed in the opposite direction. If you ask me whether we were headed north, south, east or west…I deny, deny, deny…because, I simple have no sense of direction. Easier put, I wonder if it is a birth defect I was born with?
As we head the opposite direction from Tucson back the way we came, I question will we actually get to where we are going. I look to my older sister for guidance and she was less than enthused. She said, “Phoenix, we are supposed to be in Phoenix.”
We drove for miles, tracing the road with one headlight. In the front of the car there was chatter of fumbles, passes, and touchdowns during that night’s game. The asphalt curved around a bend in the road beneath the 80’s Honda Hatchback. A dent in the front bummer from rear-ending someone.
The night was so dark, the windows were down and I could see my breath in the crisp moonlight. She sat next to me, long locks of blonde hair curled around each ear, she smiled and giggled at the conversation in the front seats. I never knew why because the conversation wasn’t funny.
She was so much fun and for a shy girl who never really knew where she fit, this was the girl everyone wanted to be around. She was something! She was beautiful, she was my friend, and her energy and laughter were magnetic.
Maybe that is how I found myself in this car. She liked this boy so much and I came with “her” to keep her company. The driver turned his conversation to her and he reached back with one hand and stroked her leg. I was so cold, the window still down and the first words I spoke were, “please, roll the window up.”
The other guy, there to amuse me, I assume, didn’t seem to want to talk but I guess, neither did I. The road turned to gravel and it felt like we were driving on uneven ground for miles but to tell you the truth I have no idea where we even were…at all. I had this uneasy feeling as we started up a hill and around a corner, the car slowed and we stopped in front of a huge metal gate like the entrance to a spectacular home.
We all got out of the car, it was still and quiet. Tree branches crackled under our feet, overgrown with weeds we found our way around the gate. He held her hand and the other tried to hold mine but I pulled away. Bats above our heads and the wind blew threw the trees sending the fall leaves to the ground. We continued on the incline up the hill, I was shaking partly from the cold and partly out of fear.
We broke off into couples and as we walked further we found the foundation of what looked to be the beginning of a building. We stepped further, he grabbed for my hand and this time, I took his. We crested a hill and found what seemed to be three walls of a home. We stood there on the wooden floor in the center of this building. The floor was covered in leaves, branches had fallen, two-by-fours cast about…I looked up to the darkness and closed my eyes. Whatever this place was, it had been abandoned and it seemed like years since anyone had been there.
The Douglas fir trees whispered around me and I caught a glimpse of the moonlight. I heard giggling from somewhere in the darkness. I turned around to face him and before I could speak he kissed me.
Sometimes life is complicated. Everything whirling around like the inside of a tornado. So, fast, you don’t dare look inside. There is no simply reason why people drift in and out of our lives. But each time for me, it gets a little more difficult to move on, to let go, and say goodbye. Some times, it’s worth it to work at other times it isn’t. It ‘s easier to move on… but it still hurts.
Lately, I have been going back and forth about my friendships. The people I used to think were my dear friends have drifted-life happens, kids happen, but I think it is a choice to let our friendships go. Friendships need to be nurtured, taken care of, treasured and it doesn’t mean getting together every weekend, to me, its remembering the little things that show them and their family you are thinking of them. It is a kindness that you don’t have to work at, it just comes naturally.
Recently, I have realized there are very few friends in my life that I can see on a planned or unplanned basis where we literally don’t skip a beat when we see each other. We pick up where we left off and the laughter and closeness….begins….this may last for a few short hours or the length of the weekend but these friends I cherish! They will always be there. I will never be able to tell them what they mean to me…but I plan to show them for the rest of their lives and mine.
I am a firm believer in being grateful and tell people what they mean to me. After all, life if short. As a writer, I don’t want anything to be left un-said. I want all of my “tribe” to know who they are and what they mean to me. I want to stop putting energy into things and people that just drag me down….after all, again-life is too short. Feeling pressured or stress to do something because of a friend is just not right, in my mind we respect each other’s opinions, each other’s values, and what is right for them…is what is ultimately best for them.
I strive to be better but as I am finally tackling my dreams head on…..just going for it has given me strength I didn’t know I had. I know I am doing what I want and what is right for my family and myself and I refuse to settle anymore. I know I can do anything!! I AM!!
Do you ever get to place in your life where you are no longer getting anything out of a relationship?
For example; where silences get longer on the phone, a strange awkwardness when you are together in the same room, or perhaps something has happened between two people that simply can’t be undone. For one person it is not repairable but the other just continues on as if nothing has happened. This friend goes about her business and when it is convenient, she will resurface in your life again.
Sometimes, what breaks my heart the most is the idea that someone expects me to do something because it is what they want, with no understanding, what so ever that it might not work for the other person? I know there are takers and givers in every situation….in any relationship there should be reciprocal giving and taking. There will be days when one is just not strong enough to give and days where one takes more than the other. It is the middle ground and equilibrium where the relationship should be steadfast itself. The relationship itself should be able to balance itself on the tip on a needle…one will be overcompensating for the other but will understand that someday the favor will be returned. Generally, in strong relationships, I believe this to be true. It is what I strive to practice.
I have struggled and I have loved in all my relationships, no matter whether we are friends or lovers. I have said goodbye and hello to people who have left my life and tried to return to my life. I do not pass judgement on past or present. I welcome the idea of moving on but I don’t want the same flaws to show up in the same relationships. Automatically, my mind goes to “not this again”.
I have been have been braving a new path since the new year, working on my own dreams and taking care of my ever-growing 12 year old twins. I am working on projects that I don’t need to share with anyone. I feel blessed to lean on the people who are there for me. Who generally want to know about me?
Comfort finds me surprised getting your unexpected messages. I never know when they will come but each one puts me at ease.