Thursday, December 3, 2015

What I Learned in November: Still

So did everyone have a great Thanksgiving weekend?  I hope it was a wonderful day for all of you.  I also hope you checked out the links in my last post and got some good deals on Small Business Saturday.

Our Thanksgiving was simple, sweet and lovely, starting with the neighborhood turkey trot

(which I didn't do, I've got my workout jam and running isn't part of it.  I did workout, but not that.)  Wyatt's was the "tot trot" -- only about 100 yards. Maybe not even that far.  Anyway, he was  his usual people person self, and didn't realize the race was happening till the last ten yards or so because he was so busy talking and waving as he jogged along.  As soon as it was over, he started crying, saying he wanted to do it again.  

Lilly ran really fast.  She and her sweet friend had promised each other they'd be a team.  They practiced together for the past week or so, and ran really fast, coming in 4th and 5th for the girls in the mile run.  I think we might have started something, because she promptly announced she wants to do more races.  Like, soon.  As in, now.

Anyway, the rest of the day was nice and low-key.  We made all our favorite Thanksgiving dishes, and used used our nice plates, and Matt washed them without being asked because he is just awesome like that,

 I had time to play the piano, and Annalee joined in.

 We stuffed ourselves on apple and pumpkin pies and banana pudding, then some of us watched Planes, Trains, and Automobiles while the younger ones watched Arthur Christmas. 

It's been a while since I did a "What I Learned This Month" post.  And I don't know if I officially "learned" these things last month, but I realized them all over again, and the feelings were so strong it felt like a whole new lesson.  Does that make sense?  Anyway, here goes.

-- It still hurts to say good-bye.  Or, "See you later."  One of my really close friends on the island left in November.  Another left in July.  And even with FaceTime/ Skype and texting and all that, I still felt so very sad to see her off.

In college, I took a couple child development classes from this one professor.  On the one hand, I really loved her classes.  She would often start the class by reading a children's book, and I was introduced to some wonderful stories and authors because of her.  I learned so much, too.  The problem is, her tests and project grading was just awful.  Everything was completely arbitrary, even the questions on the test.  I will never forget the question that made me most angry: "True or False.  It is easier for the child who moves away than for the child who is left behind."

Okay, is that not the dumbest test question EVER?!  How could anyone know the answer?  Does pain have a metric?  When I was growing up, I was usually the one leaving, and I could write a book (in fact, I tried to) about how hard that was.  There are no simple words for it.

But when someone -- someone you love, someone you can talk to so easily because it feels like you've known them forever, someone you can laugh and cry with, someone you can leave your kids with to go have a baby -- leaves, it feels like a big hole has been punched out of your heart.

So I still don't know the right answer to that ridiculous question, but I know I miss my friends who leave.  And sometimes it feels like I'm just missing an awful lot of people all the time.

-- It still pays off to make the effort of making friends.  It sounds really cliched, or paraphrased from the old song we sang in Girl Scouts about making new friends but keeping the old.  But really?  I think we forget easily how important it is to have a good friend, even when it means stepping waaaaayyy outside your comfort zone to talk to people.  We get "too busy" with life to take the time for friendships.  But again and again, I'm learning how much better I feel when I've reached out and at least tried to connect and make friends.  Yes, a lot of friendships turn out to be surface level, but the ones that don't are life changing.  The past few weeks since my dear friend left, I've pushed myself to go out and talk to people in those moments when I think, I'll just stay inside and cook dinner/ browse the internet/ read.  And I still miss my friend so much, but it feels good to stretch my friend-making muscles.

Very related: I love this post by author Kristen Strong!! (It's not new, but go read it now!) I wish every woman/ girl over age 10 would read it!

--  It's still so amazing.  I remember a year ago, thinking about a new baby being part of our family, and how that baby would be crawling around.  And now we know and adore Annalee, and she's doing that.  She turned six months old on  Thanksgiving Day.  I'm so grateful that I have another baby, plus her four siblings.  I used to assume that motherhood would become more mundane or something with more children.  But if anything, it seems all the more miraculous with each one.  Sometimes I think that if you could hear Matt and I talking or playing with her, you'd assume she was our first -- or at least, not our fifth.  It's as if looking at our sixteen-year-old (and all the others in between) and remembering how she was once this small has makes the process of parenting that much more amazing.

We were also very grateful to have Matt with us this year.  It hasn't always been that way, and when he's gone, those are the toughest holiday seasons.  This year felt a little bittersweet, because while it's Annalee's first Thanksgiving, it could be the only one where we are all together, at least for a while.  We don't know for sure that he'll be home next Thanksgiving.  Jayna will be probably at college in two years, and since we don't know where we'll be, much less where she'll be, being together just isn't a given.

I'm trying hard to savor every moment, and if we are all together next year and the year after, well, all the better.  For now, though, I know that my cup runs over.

Still, always.

1 comment:

  1. It is great to make new friends. Although I think it is harder as an adult.


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