What Friendship Really Means

What does it mean to have friends in your adult years?  This question has been nagging me for quite some time, and thus the idea of this post; however, I simply could not seem to get the answer to form into words.  What I needed was an ah-ha moment and to my great fortune, I had two.

To better understand why the question of friendship even came to mind, you have to know a bit about me.  I have led a slightly nomadic life until recently.  I have lived in 16 different houses/apartments in 5 different states and in 3 different countries in the span of 30 years.  I have packed and unpacked suitcases and boxes enough times to last me a lifetime.  And in the process of bouncing across the world I have made many, many friends.  I have also lost many, many more.  Sure, social media allows me to keep in contact, but truthfully, I haven’t seen the vast majority of my online friends in years, and some, I might never come across again.

As I reached the bitter milestone of 30 this past year, I started rethinking my contacts, more specifically, those closest to me.  I came to the realization that, differently than my childhood expectations created by 90210, I don’t have a clique of my own.  I don’t have a bff that has been by my side since the early Girl Scout days.  What I have instead, is a wide array of very different online friends who each hold a tiny chunk of my history in their minds and hearts and I also have new friends since my nomadic days seem to have ended.  Those are the friends that have come into my life within the past four to five years, but with whom I do not share a history of childhood.

This realization created a longing for someone: a person who knew me when I was not a mom, not a wife, not a grown up.  I longed for someone who knew me. 

Of course, the first step in realizing that my ideals of friendship were nonexistent in my life, was self pity.  Woe is me who is lonely and without friends.  Yes, I know: pathetic. It gave me the idea, however, to look up old friends: people who did, once upon a time, know me.  Out came the yearbooks and the Facebook stalking began.  Within a couple hours I had found several old friends, two of which were actually really close friends of mine – I’m not even sure why we never kept in touch!  My first ah-ha moment came from exactly one of these two.  She wrote, “I wish I was as happy as you are. I feel lost at times“.  I quickly learned two things from her comment.  1) She was right: I am truly happy overall.  2) Not moving 16 times across the world and back, does not guarantee a happily ever after in life.

I decided, then, to take a second and less woe-is-me approach to the friendship issue.  I turned to my new friends. They all seemed to be living well adjusted, healthy lives.  What they did not have, though, was a specific one-only go-to person.  Most had several friends – 3 or 4 – whom they could count on day and night.  I was more surprised to find that I was one of those select few.

And here the question was born:  What does it mean to have friends in your adult years?  The new friends I find myself with today, what do we share that keeps us close?

This past weekend I had the opportunity to spend a fair amount of quality time with my friends at Baby W’s first birthday party.  As I was uploading his birthday pictures, I came across one particular shot which brought about my second and final ah-ha moment.  In that shot, my three friends and I shared a moment.  It was nothing an outsider could understand.  It was an inside joke, a shared secret, it was a shared moment.  We were fortunate to have caught it on camera.  I realized that is what makes a friendship in your adult life: sharing moments.  We each have husbands, children, jobs, commitments, and responsibilities.  Our time is stretched taut like rubber band, but in moments that we share, that rubber band gives just a bit, just enough for us to nurture our friendships and create a bond.

I understand now that adult friendships require dedication, time, and a ton of understanding.  We won’t make every dinner party or every kid’s birthday, but we will always put forth the effort.  I also understand now what I lack with some of my past friendships and what I lack with all my online friends are the moments.  I hate to think that there is a person out there who has the potential to share in those priceless moments with me, yet we miss out because of lack of trying.  So I am urging you to reach out to others and make those moments happen.  Don’t just send me a text, call me.  Don’t just send me a message on Facebook, come visit or meet me half way.

Life is too full of those precious, fantastic moments to be wasted virtually..

Logging off.

My BFFs!

Sharing Our Moment

I became a Pinteresting queen before school ended this year for my boys.  I had horrid flashbacks of last summer: countless hours of hearing the repetitive sound of axes hacking away on Minecraft, Teen Titans blasting from the television, and enough “I’m bored” nags from the boys to last me a life time.  So, I became a Pinterest queen.  I searched for ideas to keep them entertained, but it seemed to me that I was the only mom that to this day, does not coddle her little boys with bubbles and fairy dust.  If I were to tell me kids we were making a cute bumblebee craft out of toilet paper rolls (yes, that is on Pinterest for all you lame-o moms), they would have packed their stuff and marched on out of my house.  I searched high and low for cool ideas.  The final product still sounded lame, but I knew I could pull it off.  When I told Baby G and Baby D what their summer plans consisted of, I received the mandatory “UGH!!!” but I promised them it would be much more awesome than they could imagine.  So here goes:

Each day of the week took on a new title:  Make-something Monday, Traveling Tuesday, Wet Wednesday, Thoughtful Thursday, and Figure-it-out Friday.  Each week would then have a new theme based on whatever is going on that week therefore we wouldn’t be tied down to making boring crafts or visiting the same two historical sights in our town.

This first week was off with a bang.  We are going camping for the first time with Baby W this weekend, so our theme was geared toward this trip.

Make-something Monday: First off, I am a horrible mother in the eyes of the boys: they are given until 930 to do whatever they want, but by 930 I expect them to be fed, dressed, and brushed [teeth].  They were then presented with a short chore list which ended with 3 worksheets (today was reading practice) and 30 minutes each online for keyboard/typing lessons.

Too little to really understand what he's doing, but he wanted to practice his writing too!

Too little to really understand what he’s doing, but he wanted to practice his writing too!

Not happy about it, but this is how your brain doesn't turn to mush during the summer months

Not happy about it, but this is how your brain doesn’t turn to mush during the summer months

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And then we were ready.  Monday was a craft, and I knew they would hate me if it was lame (see toilet paper bumblebee).  Instead we made lanterns.  We took an aluminum can, drew a pattern of dots, and then – here comes the cool mom – the boys used hammer and nails to make holes in their holed pattern.

Watch those fingers!

Watch those fingers!

So careful..

So careful..

A rare moment caught on camera: brothers helping each other!

A rare moment caught on camera: brothers helping each other!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once the holes were punched, the boys painted their cans.  The paint wasn’t very visible on the cans, so to let them have a bit more fun, they painted on other stuff too.

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We left the cans out to dry and later this weekend we will put a glow stick in them and brighten our tents.

Traveling Tuesday:  After Monday, I thought we were on a roll!  The boys seemed so happy with all my ideas – I figured they would wake up Tuesday ready to go.  Boy, was I wrong.  Their chore and workbook list met them like nails on a chalkboard, and after hearing Baby G complain about how awful always having to do something is, I sent him and his hormonal self off to a friend’s house for the morning.  Any fabulous plans I had were unraveling so quickly and it was just day two.  I packed up Baby W and Baby D and we headed out, with a slight change of plans and a detour from the week’s theme.  It was voting day so I decided to show Baby D how he should one day exercise his rights.  On our way to our polling location, I explained to him the importance and value of just one single vote.  Once there, he followed me through the process, but closed his eyes while I cast my vote because, “It’s your secret”.  We ran a few more errands together, and though our day turned out quite differently than I had planned, at least Baby D learned something new.

i-voted

Wet Wednesday:  Last weekend we had a big crawfish boil at our house – and it rained, rained, rained!  Wednesday was our first dry day, and thank goodness because we planned on getting really wet!  After the usual fight with chores, the boys were packed up and ready to hit the beaches.  This time we decided to bring our puppy with us.  Baby L is an almost 8 year old German Shepherd/Collie who is deathly afraid of the water but loves the beach – weirdo.  Packing for the beach as a single adult is so easy: you grab a towel, sunscreen, sunglasses, and go.  But packing for three kids and a dog is no easy task.  I needed an oversized sheet for Baby W to lay on, I needed the umbrella to cover Baby W and Baby L.  A water bowl for Baby L, beach toys, towels, towels, towels, snacks, water, hats……. I packed for nearly an hour knowing well that I would likely only stay for an hour! Then once on the beach, the two older boys took off for the water, leaving me with an overly excited and sandy baby and a scared to death but terribly happy dog.  The two of them covered my makeshift play area with sand, threw my water bottles out of the shade and chased other dogs on the beach (yes, even Baby W tried chasing the dogs).  By the time I had the situation under control, I was exhausted and ready to go home.

Chilling in the shade

Chilling in the shade

That's a laughing baby

That’s a laughing baby

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before I hung up my gloves and gave in, my phone rang.  My dear friend, RC, offered us 4 tickets to our local water park.  I have lived here nearly six years and yet have never been to the water park because the prices are so steep!  So with the offer of free tickets and the opportunity to spend an awesome afternoon with a great friend, I jumped right on it!  We packed our beach things in a fury – aided by a sweet homeless man (we gifted him our water bottles and snacks) and rushed home to drop off Baby L.

The water park was fantastic!  The boys rode all the slides with RC because – I’m not even ashamed to admit – I am too chicken to ride those crazy slides!!  Instead, Baby W and I enjoyed the kiddie pool.   Everyone had a fabulous time, and before we knew it, it was closing time.   The boys all picked up a nice tan, while I went home looking like I was slowly morphing into a lobster: nothing that some Aloe Vera can’t fix.

Loving his first water park experience

Loving his first water park experience

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Lazy river - I can handle it!

Lazy river – I can handle it!

With RC and her mother in law

With RC and her mother in law

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thankful Thursday: I decided to give the boys a bit of a break – and be thoughtful – and didn’t present them with a chore list first thing in the morning.  At some point today we will have a lot of prepping to do for this weekend’s camping trip, so I gave them the morning off to play.  Amazingly, Minecraft has not come on the Xbox yet and I haven’t heard, “I’m bored”, but the day is still young…

I had originally explained to the boys what Thoughtful Thursday meant:  we do something kind for someone else.  I gave them suggestions and told them we would decide weekly what we would do, but yesterday the boys informed me they already had something in mind and that I didn’t have to worry about it.  So I didn’t.  I hoped they wouldn’t forget and leave me hanging.  And this is what I found by my bedroom door this morning:

To: The BEST mom EVER From: Gabe Happy Thoughtful Thursday

To: The BEST mom EVER
From: Gabe
Happy Thoughtful Thursday

Say what you will about hormonal, pain in the butt boys; but sometimes – just sometimes – they can pull off some terribly sweet moves.

Lastly we have Figure-it-out Friday.  Tomorrow the boys are set to learn something new, but with our pending camping trip, I knew I wouldn’t have time to write this week’s blog, so I can only offer a sneak peak!  After their chores – ha! – the boys will look up online (they find it thrilling when I give them the green light to Google anything!) information regarding our camp sight: history, special landmarks, local birds or animals.  We will then use all the knowledge they learned – sounds fun, huh?  I can just picture myself spotting birds…

As week one of summer break ends, I can only look forward to the next two months.  Surely, not all days will be as well organized as Monday or fall into place as smoothly as Wednesday.  There will be plenty of days like Tuesday, but thank goodness, they are always, always followed by wonderful moments like Thursdays.

Baby L touching the water reluctantly

Baby L touching the water reluctantly

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