Sunday, January 15, 2012

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Lessons for my Daughters {A Draft}

This post was initially written LAST April. I thought about deleting it but I think it's important to publish it just so my daughters can have the reminder that I am human and that I am constantly trying to figure out who I am. I will be their guide through life but I don't have a guide book. I don't have all the answers because I'm still trying to come up with the answers myself.

Our garage got flooded this past weekend. It was both a blessing and a curse. Curse because a lot of things got wet and now the musty, humid smell in our garage has magnified. Blessing because it forced me to organize all the boxes and containers Lovingly referred to as Narnia by a close friend because just like the closet in the Narnia books that transport you to another world, my garage does the same thing. I went back to middle school and my old soccer uniform, high school and my drama club days, college and my old ZTA days, and my recently departed Boston days.

What got me wasn't so much how much time has passed but how easily time could be fragmented into people, places, and things. I relived different phases of my life every time I organized a new a box. Every memory preserved perfectly in each box. Then I was reminded of my naiveness in thinking that particular phase would always last. Friendships I thought would last for always have ended. Memories of those people shoved back into their boxes to be forgotten until the next cleaning and the next time I am ready to let go of these physical reminders.

If there is one thing I learned it's that friends come and go. Either because the friendship has run its course or ended on bad terms. Sometimes it takes life intervening and changing you to help you reconnect with some from the past. Sometimes it takes you realizing that in the frienship dynamic you give more than you receive. Sometimes it takes accepting that what brought you together as friends was limited to a particular phase and its time to let go. And sometimes the reality is that common ground isn't enough to sustain a friendship where the parties are inherently different from one another.

Then there is the ugly business of looking into yourself and seeing how you have changed as a friend. Right now, at this very minute, I am the worst kind of friend. The kind of friend who doesn't know how to feel about certain friendships and yet spends hours obsessing about them. The type of friend who is needy and gets upset when her friends aren't available as she is and yet avoids contact because she hates feeling so needy. The type of friend who gets upset about things that are said and done and yet doesn't confront to let the person know she was hurt.

Cati is 14 months and I'm still trying to figure out who I am as a person and how motherhood fits in it all. Motherhood has made me whole outlook change and it's a daily struggle reconciling that with the things that haven't changed.
Stephanie

3 comments:

stilllifeinbuenosaires said...

This has been one of my most difficult lessons as I grow older. I am 34. I used to think that friendships lasted forever. After people have faded from my life, purposefully or naturally, I have had to learn to let go and not interpret it as rejection. This has been both humbling and invigorating. It can feel like a divorce.

You sound like an amazing friend and mother. Take care.

stilllifeinbuenosaires said...

This has been one of my most difficult lessons as I grow older. I am 34. I used to think that friendships lasted forever. After people have faded from my life, purposefully or naturally, I have had to learn to let go and not interpret it as rejection. This has been both humbling and invigorating. It can feel like a divorce.

You sound like an amazing friend and mother. Take care.

Desi said...

I loved this post so much. I feel the same exact way. The words you wrote were beautiful and really resonated with me. I loved your line "Friendships I thought would last for always have ended. Memories of those people shoved back into their boxes to be forgotten until the next cleaning..." I get sad looking back at old pics of happier times, childhood, thinking that my ten "bffs" would always be there. Yes, back then it was so easy to call everyone a bff. Remembering our amazing moments together and realizing I don't have those so much anymore. In some of my friendships I definitely gave more than I received, and vice versa in others. "Sometimes it takes accepting that what brought you together as friends was limited to a particular phase and it's time to let go." This is sad for me... thinking about certain grade school friendships that ended once high school started, or high school friendships that have dwindled because they've moved on to other states, or we've just grown apart. I used to think that me and my childhood best friend would grow old together and be old ladies sitting on the porch gossiping, but we had a falling out in high school. It's strange to think of the rest of my life without my bff Tessa but I guess things change and can't be the way they were back then. I also think that what changed was me. My mindset. Because now I see flaws in people more often. Now I see "friends" who aren't living up to my expectations. Back then it was easy to ignore those things, or they didn't matter. But now I realize that I'm more picky and things that people do annoy me more. I can't hang out with catty or superficial or dense people anymore without feeling like I'm judging them and not fully enjoying my time hanging with them. I have a few friends that I love to death though, at least. I wish me and you could hang... I'm sure we'd be friends for a long time :)

(Sorry I just wrote you a book!!)