December 21, 2012

All I want for Christmas.

Posted in Life Lessons, My Five, Parenthood tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 11:06 am by openendedcomment

Dear Santa,

I know it may seem odd to get this letter from me, especially as for the last thirteen years I’ve been you when it comes to gifts and stockings and cookie eating (thank you for that) but in writing to you this year I suppose it’s more about the idea of you…what you stand for…the wonder and the miracle of the season.  I could really use some wonder and what I want may take a miracle, all making you the logical choice for this date.  I know that I haven’t always landed on your “nice” list, I’m the first to admit that to be true.  But from what I understand, you’re a forgiving and jolly sort who can overlook certain things.

This is the season of possibility, of love and togetherness.  Of “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Miracle on 34th Street” type of things.  I was raised on it.  I believe.  I promise, I still do and as you’ll soon see I wouldn’t be writing if that weren’t true.

This year for Christmas I want something that money can’t buy.  I’m looking for a gift of Christmas itself, of Peace on Earth and Goodwill to Men.  Of being what we sing and living what we say.  I have prayed each night and every day, I’ve written letters and put good karma into the world.  I’ve asked directly and I’ve quietly waited…and now as all else has failed, I’m trying you.  You who embody Christmas itself and the promise of your most heartfelt desires and deepest of wishes coming true…even if for just one day.

Please, Santa, please…if you can…please let my children have a Christmas filled with family and joy.  Give to my husband the gift of reconciliation and brotherhood.  To my Mother and Step-Father a time of hope and possibility.  To my Dad a time of knowledge that he is the glue that keeps me strong, to my friends the gift of faith and grace that they may know a year without pain, to my dearest friend the gift of return, that some of what she has put into the world may come back to her.  To my oldest friend the gift of health for her Mother, to my cousin and thousands like him, the gift of equality in all things.  I know this list is long and it may seem I’m asking for too much…a few will do in a pinch…but if there is only one thing I can receive, let it be this, the gift of healing and of strength to the Mothers and Fathers and Brothers and Sisters who have angels not on their tree this year, but in heaven far, far too soon.  I heard the bells ringing for them this very morning, all twenty-six have been given their wings. I’m afraid it won’t be Christmas for those left here this year but someday and sometime  it will be again and when that day comes please, please be there for them.

Thank You, Santa.  You made so many childhood dreams come true that even though I fill stockings now, part of me still believes in the promise of you.

Love,

Heidi

October 19, 2012

Full Circle.

Posted in Life Lessons, My Five tagged , , , , , , , , at 12:50 pm by openendedcomment

So many say that the advent of social media is leading to the breakdown of communication as we know it.  I know many people whom I consider friends that flat-out refuse to participate for various reasons.  Some state that they don’t want their personal life available for view, others that they don’t feel the need to know everything everyone is doing and still others, my husband among them, because they feel that everyone they want to speak to or know about they already do.  I can understand all of these things, but I do not agree.

Social Media, Face Book, Blogs and even the simplicity of email and text have enriched my life in ways I could not have foreseen and will be ever grateful for.  Of course there are the posts that drive me nuts and the ones I wonder at…but then I know I do the same to others and all is well.  We are grown ups and grown ups (should be) able to understand that not everything is to be taken literally.  Hence the reason I feel these things are mostly adult(ish) forums, but I digress.  The bit about who should/should not participate in these social networks is a post for another day.  As I enter the back-end of my thirties my life has become almost unsustainably busy.  I have a full-time career.  I am a Mother of four active and very wonderful children with whom I am extremely involved.  I have a husband, parents, siblings and friends.  In order to keep up with all of these people and all of these things, this wonderful age of technology and communication is not only easier but essential.  Without it I would never know of or be able to keep tabs on what the people I care about are doing in and with their lives.  I would not be connected to family members, aunts, uncles and cousins scattered throughout the country.  I use it less for gossip and more for lovely things like friendship, family, humor and information.  Sure, I could call…but in reality, I don’t have the time and neither do they.  I suppose writing a letter is possible and some would say more thoughtful, but again, that requires getting to the post office and waiting for a response and though it may seem lazy to admit, I know myself better than to think I would have the time to do that.  I mean, I have dry cleaning that hasn’t been claimed in six months…speaking of which…I must do that today. We don’t have a “main street” or “corner cafe” at which we have breakfast or see friends known from childhood.  The world just isn’t like that anymore.

It goes further than light conversation or keeping tabs.  It goes to the basic human need to be connected and the joy of rediscovering people I would not know today that were so essential in my life at one time.  Friends I had in high school and even junior high school with whom I lost touch these past decades.  People who were dear to me and lost to me are found again on my own little digital home-town.  There are so many who fit this criteria of people I am glad to know again but for this post and because of this day it’s about two women I once knew and again know.

As an eighth grader, one of my dearest friends was a girl named C.  We hung out at each other’s homes constantly.  We even made a band.  A band of two…but there were signs.  In high school we grew apart and after that we saw each other only once, at a ten-year reunion, at which we really didn’t speak.  Through social media I “found” her again and we “speak” semi-regularly now.  No, we aren’t “best friends” but each time we write I am reminded of why we became friends in the first place all those years ago.  She is smart.  She is kind and she is hilarious.  She and I also lead somewhat similar lives today as step-mothers and wives and women.  I am invested in her blog because through it I found my friend and some sound advice combined wth many laughs.  We’ve been trying to set up a lunch and not shockingly, can’t find the time.  But we will and as I write even this I am wondering how her weekend is set and who is home with her children over MEA and if a certain plan she has in the works is working out the way she hopes (if you read this I’m referring to the twofer plan…fingers crossed!)  Again and happily so,  she is someone I care for and someone I want to see have everything in life.

There are poignant moments, too.  Just today a girl, now a mother of three, with whom I was very close my junior and senior year of high school and again, someone I haven’t seen since, wrote something very personal.  She is going through a difficult time and I wish I could do more for her to ease her pain.  I found myself crying at my desk remembering being in her home at sixteen.  Remembering her family and the talks she and I shared over saltines in her basement and lunch tables at 6th hour.  Wondering at the strange and long road I’ve been on these last twenty years and feeling as though I had been a  terrible friend for letting something that was once so important to me go with such ease.  She and I also communicate now and from what I can tell, she is exactly who I had always thought she would be, an amazing Mother, Wife, Woman and Friend.  She and I had the same English teacher Senior year.  He had us write ourselves a letter, which was to be mailed to our 27-28 year old selves to review.  In mine, I had spelled out a vision of a life for myself I do not lead.  I wanted such different things back then…and today, reading her post, something became clear.  What was most important to me then is what is most important to me now.  The rest may have changed, and most for the better, but these women were spelled out by name to remind me to know.  Her name was in it.  Hers, along with a woman in San Fransisco, another in a Northern Suburb, one now in Iowa, one who had her second son only weeks ago a few miles from where we went to pre-school together, and a woman who today celebrates her birthday.  I told myself that I would always know them.  Some I never lost touch with, others I did, and thanks to this world we live in, all I now know again.

For women this is essential.  We need our friendships.  My circle is small in part because I prefer it that way and in part as I have been remiss in keeping ties bound.  I have Glitter and I have Cielo and I have my Mother, too.  But aside from them and sometimes even including them, I am terrible about keeping in touch to the level I mean to and want to.  We are all connected again and in so I am enriched and blessed.  We’ve come full circle these women and me.  We started out fast friends, took different paths, changed our ways, changed our minds, became new people, found our homes, built our families and learned who we are.  And in the end, at least for a few, found that the core of who we were is more of who we are than we had ever imagined and as such rediscovered that those girls we knew we liked are women we know we need.

September 11, 2012

The Best Atheist Christian I Know.

Posted in Life Lessons, My Five tagged , , , , , , , , , at 9:17 pm by openendedcomment

My best friend is an Atheist.  She also happens to be the most Christian woman I have ever known.  She may not believe in Christ, but she lives her life to the ideals of a Christian better than any Sunday services attending, Wednesday FEP teaching and “I’ll pray for you” type walking this earth.  That may be an exaggeration, better to say she does this better than any of the afore-mentioned type I’ve ever met.

She and I have had countless discussions regarding religion.  I am Catholic and I believe in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.  I pray to the Virgin Mary.  I pray to St. Jude and to St. Christopher.  I light candles at the Basillica of Saint Mary when my life feels unmanageable or when I’m simply sad…or grateful…or both.  I was there for hours exactly eleven years ago today.  I carry a rosary with me and I make confession.  I also happen to be fiercely pro-choice and pro-marriage equality.  Being Catholic does not deter from that.  It actually encourages it…but that’s another post entirely.  I do not attend mass regularly because I feel that God and I have a relationship that transcends a building.  I have raised my children to believe in God but to make their own decisions regarding what they feel is right and wrong and to not identify with one religion merely because their father and I have chosen to do so.  I encourage them to explore other religions and they know…clearly…that just because a Hindu or Muslim or Jew or even an Atheist or Agnostic heck even Wiccan do not believe what they believe or even worship the same God(s) that they do, they are not worse or lesser or even wrong…merely different.  I have encouraged them to accept that as long as someone is a good person and leads a good life that they too are worthy and deserving of respect.  I believe that all afore-mentioned will be rewarded for a life well led when this life has passed.  I have encouraged my children to attend services for many other religions,  I think it’s good for them.  My Mom and Dad did the same for me.  My Mother, who sent me to Catholic school and then pulled me out when they began telling me she and my Dad were wrong for being divorced and that everyone who had an abortion was going to hell, is agnostic.  She encouraged me to do exactly what I am now doing for my children.  I am telling you all of this to explain why and how Glitter and I are best friends regardless of, despite and perhaps even because of my beliefs and hers and why beliefs that seem so very different are actually almost the same.

She doesn’t “do” religion.  She is adamant in her stance that all of the world’s wars and evils, including the one we remember today, are rooted in religion.  She has a serious point on this one.  She and I are in agreement that religious groups wield far too much power in politics.  She has said that when someone she loves dies that God is not with her, God does not decide or guide, people do.  She knows, in her heart, that when she is crushed emotionally and her soul is aching that God does not hold her, her husband does.  She and I do not agree on that.  Not that he doesn’t hold her, I know him and he’s pretty great.  I am sure he does hold her…but I think God is there, too.  And that’s OK.  We respect our respective beliefs and non-beliefs.  We are able to have long, long discussions without ever offending each other.  And that is a gift.  A gift of friendship and love and trust.  It is not the only gift she has given.

She does not judge.  Ever.  Don’t get me wrong, she does express her opinion.  Loudly and occasionally laced with obscenities, but she does not judge.  She listens, she gives sound advice and she is a person literally hundreds of people would and do turn to in order to unload their souls.  They know she is a safe person to do this with as she will never and has never thought less of them for it.

She forgives.  My God that woman forgives.  She forgives everything; things that most people could never fathom ever moving on from, she has forgiven in others.  That is not to say she is a pushover.  She will keep it in the back of her mind, learn from it and approach the person and situation differently the next time as a result but she has no, not once in her life when an apology has been given with sincerity (and at times when none was even uttered) failed to offer forgiveness and welcome friendship back with open arms.  She feels that to allow anger or resentment to remain in her life is to poison herself and she values herself too much to allow for that kind of crap.

She does better.  She is a flawed and faulted human being who admits to her faults, scrutinizes her behavior and endeavors to be a better person as a result.  She occasionally flies off the handle and has a tendency to react with emotion.  In this way we are exactly alike.  But she feels terrible immediately after.  She makes amends fast and with humility.  Real humility, not the fake-this-makes-me-look-good kind.  She means it.  She isn’t trying to impress anyone, she just wants to know in her heart that she’s doing the right thing.

She is selfless.  She gives and gives and gives…and then she agrees to throw another party or do another fundraiser and proceeds to give some more.  She doesn’t tell people about half of it, it’s more than something she does, it is something that she is.

She believes in marriage, motherhood and sisterhood.  Family is not the center of her life, it is her life.  There is no way to expound on this one, it just is. Her commitment to them knows no bounds and  in it there are no voids.

She treats everyone with respect.  Everyone.  She does not attempt to convert others to her way of thinking, she simply accepts them as they are and loves them no matter what.

She is not proud and she does not brag.  She does not understand people who do or what it does for them.  There have been times she’s had much and times she has done without and no one but her very closest friends and family have ever known the difference.  Her life isn’t about things, it’s about people and experiences and finding the joy.  She can’t be bought.  It’s been tried and has failed each time.

If you were to list out every attribute of the ideal Christian Mother, Wife and Friend, she would be it.  Aside from the believing in God part.  And when it is all said and done, why should that matter?  How could an argument ever be made that someone who attends church every Sunday only to pass judgement on those who do not is more Christian than she?  The woman who tithes her church and announces to her prayer group how much money her new diamond cross cost yet ignores the children without a coat only a few miles away or dismisses the neighbor who lost their job or denounces the nineteen year old single mother who just found out her birth control failed…is she more deserving of salvation?  The one who tells you she will pray for your soul and then stabs you in the back the moment you turn away…is she on higher moral ground?  I don’t think so.  Even though it may be hard to wrap your brain around, I don’t think you think so, either.  Not really.  Not where it counts.

She and I don’t see eye to eye on the matters of God and Religion and Prayer.  And that, to me, is a good thing.  She doesn’t know this yet, but she has taught me more about God and the role of the Holy Spirit filling and guiding my life than any Priest or Deacon.  You see, I believe in what I teach.  When I teach my children that all of us are God’s children and even when we don’t recognize it and perhaps especially when we deny or dismiss it yet still live our lives according to His teachings, that we are at those times most blessed.  The Holy Spirit is within us all.  Some call it conscience, some an inner voice and others simply recognize it as what we know to be our morality.  Whatever you choose to label it, my label is the Spirit and hers is the strongest I know.  Charity and love without bounds; acceptance in the face of judgement.  Conviction which never waivers and courage which has yet to fold.

I will never tell her she is wrong.  She isn’t.  Someone so right simply could not be.  She has reasons, good ones, for everything she feels and thinks and for everything she is for and against.  I respect the Hell out of it all.  But as her friend, someday many decades from now, if I can manage to follow her lead…she and I will have a different conversation.  One outside of life on earth.  I can’t wait to tell her “I told you so”…

She isn’t going to like this post.  It’s too “nice” and too…too.  So Glitter, before you call me, know this: I mean it.  I want people to understand that saying you’re Christian doesn’t make you Christian and that if more people recognized that moral guidance can come from someone who doesn’t carry a bible or wear a cross the world might just be a better place.  Judge not lest ye be judged and all that other rot….love you.

August 17, 2012

Scarlett Was Right.

Posted in Life Lessons, My Five tagged , , , , , , , , , at 2:30 pm by openendedcomment

I had a conversation with Glitter yesterday.  This in and of itself is not a big deal.  We talk all of the time.  It was the substance of this talk and actually the thoughts that went through my mind after it that are the reason for this day’s musings.

We were discussing all of the awful-no-good-very-bad that has been my summer and her last eighteen months.  About the pain, the people and the fact that in it all we were losing sight of all of the good.  I brought up how on December 31st, 2011, as she and I were having our daily chat I had said then that I could not wait for 2011 to be over.  It had been a year.  She’d had the same sentiments.  She then mentioned to me that despite the utter crap of the past weeks and months that 2012 has actually been far, far better for both of us.  She’s right.  It has been. On the surface it may seem worse, but when I examine it, really look into it, she’s right.  I mean, this poor woman was diagnosed with Lyme’s disease and West Nile all in the span of the past 48 hours ( no, I didn’t think that was possible either, ugh, poor woman!) and she was still looking on the bright side.  Maybe her new alias should be Pollyanna.  At any rate, I owe her one for putting it into perspective.

With all of the loss and sadness and just…awful that has surrounded my family and friends I love like family recently I think it’s time I take a moment to count the good.  The great.  The Oh-My-God-We-Are-So-Blessed parts of our lives.  So here we go and in no particular order:

  • My husband, though it came on the tail of (actually during) one of the hardest days of his lives, has begun the process of healing with his brothers.  This is something I have prayed about for years now.  We aren’t quite there, there’s a few that are harder than others to make that first move with, and perhaps he’ll never be all the way right, but it is a start and that’s more than there was a week ago.  I believe (and I’m sorry to those of you that are agnostic or atheist, but this is my blog and my beliefs) that a woman who loves them all dearly and has from the moment of their creation is quietly but firmly guiding him and them along at this very moment.  She may not have liked me, but she adored all of them and I’m sure she’d want to see this happen, too.
  • Each day I am reminded that though I’ve lost people I love I was so very, very lucky to have had them in my life.  I wear a Grandmother’s wedding ring, another’s emeralds in my ears…not for the jewels but for the precious gift of their words in my head and my heart which is kept closer to their wisdom by the tiny, sparkling reminders of the remarkable women that tried to make me better. I will always miss them, but will forever be grateful to have been loved by and to love them all.
  • Our children are healthy.  They may drive me crazy from time to time but they are healthier and happier now than they have been in years.  They know they are secure and I know they are all on a  good path.
  • My friends have been amazing.  Stunning and so above and beyond in their support.  I don’t know how I’ll ever repay all of the kindness shown these past eighteen months, but I will try.
  • My husband and I are both gainfully and, even more importantly, happily employed.  A year ago that was not true.  We are very, very lucky in that we both really enjoy what we do and the people we share our careers with.  It’s exciting to come home and talk about what’s happened each day and to celebrate each other’s successes.

And really, when I look at what I’ve just written, this has indeed been a good eight months.  Yes, there has been heartache and tears and undeniable losses that will form a dull ache throughout the rest of our lives as we move through the difficult milestones of life without them.  And as I sit here trying to look at the brightest of sides during the darkest hours I can’t help but ask myself, are there things I would change? Of course, several.  Are there regrets? Yes, many. But here’s the thing:  It’s too late.  It will always matter, those decisions and words will always be with me, but I’m done beating myself up about all of it because at the end of the day it gets me nowhere.  I know where mistakes were made and all I can do from here on out is endeavor to learn from them and vow to not repeat anything even resembling them again.

There has been acceptance.  Peace.  We have been surrounded by signs we just needed to be ready to see pointing us in the right direction.  It is time now to heal.  To remember the good, to embrace the present and to forgive others as well as ourselves for the days that have already passed.  And maybe, just maybe it is time for a new beginning.  After all, tomorrow is another day.

April 15, 2012

Nothing but a Stem.

Posted in Life Lessons, My Five tagged , , , , at 4:11 pm by openendedcomment

As we age, we learn.  This is not news.

As it was in school; some lessons are harder than others and some take longer to sink in.  The difference in the lessons of today is the inability to avoid them…back in high-school, when I didn’t want to attend a class (geometry) I would simply skip out, head to the library and read until the class had ended.  Yes, I was a nerd.  So what.  The point is that back then, I had the ability to avoid the unpleasant lessons life was attempting to force on me and opt for more enjoyable ways to spend my time. There were no real consequences aside from my lack of knowledge regarding obtuse/right angles…or whatever Mr. Swenson was trying to say.  I seriously have no clue.

These days, the lessons of life are harder to avoid.  To avoid is to incur real consequence.  That, combined with my older, wiser (I hope wiser) self that actually cares about doing the “right thing” makes it harder for me to avoid the unpleasantness of difficult moments.

I had one last night.

Glitter’s anniversary.  She was, as I had predicted, lovely and radiant with adoration of and from her husband.  Her mother was warm and funny.  Her Virgo sister teared up and still managed to look perfectly poised. Two more women I knew in childhood are expecting children of their own.  All was as I had thought it would be.  Well, almost.  I wished I could have stayed and celebrated with her longer, but to do so would be to allow my husband to be hurt further and though I love her dearly, I love him more.  That’s just the way it is and I hope she understood.

He was ambushed, or rather we were ambushed.  I could take it as I had many other friends there, him, not so much.  It was my group, not his.   For reasons unknown to me; a woman I used to know (yesterday’s Rockstar, today’s sad remains) found it necessary to be as hateful as a person can be.  I will not write what she said and I will not call her by name.  Suffice to say that the worst case scenario I could have come up with in my head regarding her possible behavior was vastly surpassed.  Stunning.  Her viciousness and lowliness was stunning.  I should be hurt…I should be sad.  But I’m not.  In order to feel those things I would have to care.  I thought I did, only yesterday I was certain I did.  It dawned on me…as I saw the anger and the pain in the eyes of the man I love caused by someone I had called friend…that woman no longer exists.  I cared about someone who had ceased to be…like holding onto a stem after all of the petals had dropped and still insisting on calling it a flower…it’s not a flower anymore…all of the good and beautiful parts that made it a flower have dropped away, one by one, leaving nothing but a barren stem, a sad reminder of what it once was.

For me, that was where the lesson lay, in the recognition that as we grow and as we change, not everyone changes for the better.  Some bloom and other wither and the wisdom lies in being able to see clearly enough to recognize the difference and have the strength of self-preservation to walk away from what used to be instead of trying to resurrect something that will never bloom again.

And that’s OK.  That is necessary.

I feel no need for vengeance; there is nothing to say.  There is no damage I could do that she has not done or is not in the process of doing to herself.

Is it sad? Sure it is.  But is it a tragedy? No.  The tragedy would be in convincing myself that a new bloom can come from an old stem and being disappointed when those petals never appear.  Life moves on.  Some people we move on with and others without and in the end, if we can look back and smile on what we had in the years before; regrets don’t factor in.

We’ve all had friends like that, the people who let us down time and time again.  For me, though the lesson was drilled into me repeatedly, it took seeing my husband attacked to finally get the damn point.  It’s time to let go of any hope of her ever being a good person.  Or healthy.   I don’t have to and nor should I put myself or those I love in the line of fire again.  She is now no more than someone who I used to know.

I still believe that some people and some friendships are worth fighting for…but now I also know that others, no matter the history, are not.  If she were to ever find herself at peace again and come around…maybe.  I’m not the type to close a door forever, but for now the handle is secure.

Oh, and if you’re wondering,  my husband and I had a great night after all.  We walked to a cute little place near the party.  We talked it out and ended up laughing and sharing more than we had in months.  We took other lessons from last night, too.  We made the best of it.  We are lucky people.  As some move out of our lives, others move further in.  Our friends that our children spent the evening with are a great example of that.  I know in them my trust is never misplaced.  My husband loves them.  As we fell asleep in each others arms he told me he was, despite it all, glad we had come.  This morning he told me he hopes that I feel for him what Glitter feels for her husband…and that he understands why she means so much to me.  I could not ask for more.

April 14, 2012

3521 Days…

Posted in Life Lessons, My Five, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , at 3:35 pm by openendedcomment

Ten years ago yesterday; Glitter got married.  Tonight is her anniversary party.  She has asked that those of us that were a part of her wedding wear our original dresses (if we have them and if we can still fit into them,)  Even though I regularly purge my closet, this is a dress I happen to still own…and, shockingly enough, still fit into.  Sort of.  Ihavn’t worn it in a decade and it still has the original cake stains inside of the bodice…memories of a bridesmaid and me having far too much fun supported by a liberal amount of wine.  Glitter claims to have pictures of this and has hinted at them being part of a slide-show.  Shit.  I mean, awesome.

For some reason, or rather for an obvious reason, I find myself nostalgic today.  And a bit stunned.  In the grand scheme of things, ten yeaars isn’t all that much time…yet I’m amazed at what has happened and how we’ve all changed this past decade.

I’m wearing the same dress; but I have a different date.  I had my youngest son 8 months and three weeks after that wedding.  I met my husband the following July.  We will have been married seven years this June.  One of the original bridesmaids (my ex-step-sister…long story) has gone AWOL and another that met her husband at the rehersal dinner is currently in divorce proceedings.

Rockstar (the cake fight counter-part), also an original bridesmaid, has since been married and had two children.  As has the maid of honor; the sister of the bride.  At her wedding my now-husband then-boyfriend was accosted by the mother-of-the-bride and told he had better put up or shut-up when it came to me and his intentions towards our future.  He proposed within the year.  Note to self: buy that woman a drink tonight.

My 25 year old self had a blast that night.  I loved these girls.  They were my family before I went and created one all on my own.

Looking back, I took it for granted.  I still love them, God knows I’m thankful for each of them,  but I’ve done a piss-poor job of showing it.

Glitter and I are good, though we’ve had our moments of not good.  Thankfully, all has been repaired and I can’t wait to see her and her wonderful husband re-commit to what they’ve built over the past decade.

Rockstar and I also had our moments.  We grew closer than ever through these last ten years and intermittently further apart.  Right now we are in the middle of an apart moment.

I’m not a fan.

Not a fan of what’s happened and even more so not a fan of where we are as friends.  Thing is…I don’t know how to repair this.  I don’t know the right or appropriate way to make that call or send that email.. Would it simply be ignored?  Would she snap back as opposed to ignoring resulting in things getting even worse?  Rockstar is not her real name (duh) but it’s a fitting one.  She is one of those women that when you look up the word “intense” in the dictionary…you expect to see her smiling face…either waving at you or flicking you off.  It depends on where you’re at.  It’s actually a positive trait.  That woman can have more fun in the most random of ways and make you have more fun than anyone else I know or have known.  She’s intensely loyal and intensely fun and intensely…intimidating.  At least to someone like me.  Now, I’m not a scared little mouse, far from, but I do admittedly suck at personal conflict. The closer I am to someone or the more that I care the harder it is for me to talk to them when there’s a problem. I know, I have it all bass-ackwards, but there it is.  The bad thing about this intensity of Rockstar’s is it makes reaching out kind of difficult. The good thing about Rockstar, actually the great thing about her (among many others) is that you always know where you stand.  There is no ambiguity.  I’m not standing in a great place.

I’ve been thinking about her and about our friendship a great deal as of late.  She’s been an important part of my life and of  the lives of my family.  She’s helped me thorugh serious problems (those occur more than anyone likes in the decade of 25-35) and she’s laughed me through some (I thought)  utterly unlaughable moments.  She is great like that.

I’ve spoken about my “five”…and she is one of them.  Even though we aren’t close at the moment, she’s one of those few people that know me…and I’m afraid that is exactly why we aren’t speaking.

We didn’t have a fight.  She saw me at my worst, one of the low points of that lost year from a few posts back, and after that, we just didn’t speak.  I didn’t call.  She didn’t call.  Neither of us wrote.  I was certain that after seeing me in that state she’d never want to speak to me again.  It appears I was right.

I played it off to the select few that knew we’d had a falling out as “we’ve just grown apart…I’m not at all mad, I hope all is well with her”…like it didn’t really bother me.  Total lie.

It bugs the shit out of me.

I miss her and I love her and I have no clue how to fix this.

In the initial few weeks I wanted to call…I even wrote about a dozen emails…but I didn’t send them.  I didn’t send them because she didn’t send them.  I was afraid of the rejection.  Now, I ask you, how pathetic is that?  Here I am, a 35 year old mother of four who is strong and independent and able to handle royally difficult relationships in business without batting an eye…but in my personal life…with someone I should feel comfortable saying anything to…I was unable to make a damn phone call?  The longer it had been the harder it became.

We’ll see each other tonight.  I’m both thrilled and petrified.  Rockstar, being Rockstar, will be working the room and having the time of her life.  I hope that somewhere in the middle of it, I can find some vodka courage and start with something simple…like “Hi”…when really, I’d love more than anything to warp back to 2002, hit the dance floor like a maniac, drink copious of wine, whip some cake her way and fall into a hug while laughing at each other the way only the dearest of friends can.

At any rate, and however this evening turns out, tonight isn’t about me.  I’m privileged and thrilled to know that despite the challenges of all our growing pains we are all going to be together.  Glitter will be gorgeous; madly in love.  Her sister will make sure everything is organized before hand and then cry, because that’s what Virgos do. Her Mother will make us all feel like we’re in high school again and my husband will dance exactly one dance.

It’s going to be lovely.  What better, after ten years of marriages, children, homes, divorce, funerals, careers found, lost and changed, than to remind ourselves that some things, the best things…like love…love between a husband and a wife and the love between girlfriends..that love like that, despite the challenges faced and storms weathered…is worth fighting for?

Thanks again, Glitter…for the umpteenth time since I’ve known you…you managed to point something out to me that I should have seen all along.  Some things matter, other things don’t.  Hold onto and celebrate the ones that do.

Happy Anniversary to one of my five.  Love.

March 1, 2012

Losing it.

Posted in My Five tagged , , , , at 5:23 pm by openendedcomment

About a week ago, my girlfriend and I had a discussion…well, more like a b–ch fest, really,  about how hard it is being in our thirties.

She is one of my five and that means that she and I tell each other pretty much everything.  Glitter, (obviously not her real name but she will get it) is gorgeous.  She is of the opinion that as time has marched on, she is less stunning than in past years.  I disagree, but then I’m not really coming from a good point of reference. I am not gorgeous.  Not now, not in the future and not when I was younger.  I am, however, an overachiever.  For me, the loss of a youthful aspect of myself is not so much my looks, but rather the feeling of having done more than others at my age.  I used to walk into a boardroom and enjoy the look of shock on people’s faces when I opened my mouth.  As in “Wow, this girl actually knows her sh-t!” For Glitter, it was the feeling that when she walked into a room…any room, all eyes were on her.  And they either a) wanted to be her or b) wanted to bed her. 

Now, don’t get me wrong, Glitter is not vain.  At all.  Her being beautiful was/is no different from me being ahead of my peers.  It just was.  She didn’t ask for it, she just had it. It was a part of our identity, these traits. 

A part of ourselves that we are, as time marches on and age evens the playing field, losing.

So the conversation went to a very difficult question:  Is it better to have been that beautiful and lose it, or to have never really had that be a part of your identity so it doesn’t bother you as much when its gone? I mean, you have to understand that neither of us have a filter when we speak to each other…but a woman we know who is the kindest, sweetest, most brilliant specimen of the female mind…but isn’t exactly “pretty”…at all…is this whole aging thing hard on her, too?  To be blunt, looks were never a part of who she was, instead it was/is her mind, and that’s just getting better. If you never were all that successful in your younger years, do you feel what I’m feeling?  That I’m hitting a point where I’m going to be the one impressed with the young chick in the room? Is it so wrong that that actually kind of upsets me? 

How does this aging thing work? Why can’t we just accept it?  So many do…are she and I inherently flawed? (Actually, don’t answer that) Does everyone at this point in our lives hit that wall of “Oh, sh-t, I’m actually getting older” and do each of us have that one thing that triggers it?

For me, it triggered about three weeks ago.  I was in a meeting that was, frankly, above my pay-grade.  It was my turn to present and all eyes were on me…and it hit me.  I’m expected to know this stuff.  Not it’d be very, very impressive for me to come across as a subject matter expert, but that they were already anticipating I would be.  I looked like I should be.  WTF?

When did this happen?

Inside, I still feel like that 22-year-old who had no business holding the title I did.  Inside, Glitter still wants to wear a bodysuit and a mini-skirt with 6 inch heels…to a club.  But she doesn’t, because she knows that it would be highly inappropriate.  PTA Moms don’t do that. 

Maybe there should be a mandatory class at age 30.  “Identifying and embracing what you’re about to lose.”  Then maybe we’d appreciate it while we still can…

I would be remiss not to point out that there is far more to me and to my self-identity than being ahead of myself professionally.  There is waaay more to Glitter than being beautiful.  There were times in her life where she hated it…hated being seen as the “hot chick” instead of the smart girl or the funny woman; both of which she happens to be. 

Having other things that you are proud of and that are a part of you does not, unfortunately, distract from the nagging feeling that a part of you is slowly fading away…

When is this acceptable? At what age do we become comfortable with the aging process?  When do we feel like we look? Do we ever? Does my Mother feel her age?  Do I ever want to?

Ugh. 

Perhaps I need to be enlightened or deep enough not to care…I’m sure that’s the answer.  There has to be something in the self-help section on Amazon for that.  When I find it, and when I’m mature enough to accept it, I’ll let you know. 

In the meantime, I need to call Glitter and talk her into a joint botox appointment.