Blinking, Marbles, Mud & Girlfriends
I ran into a friend a couple of weeks ago. The day I saw her happened to be the day after she moved her eldest daughter out-of-state for a brand new job and a brand new exciting phase of life. That morning my friend had been up in her daughter’s childhood bedroom tidying up a few odds and ends. When she opened the closet door to vacuum out the now mostly barren closet, three things remained: her daughter’s first communion dress, her girl scout vest and her graduation gown. There they were, marking the space in her closet still: three garments symbolizing her girlhood journey in faith, character and schooling. Just imagine.
With tears brimming the pools of her eyes she said, “It goes by so fast. My daughter was in kindergarten and then I blinked a few times and she was gone. Time is a gift, as are our children… and we don’t have either one of them forever, which is what makes them all the more precious today.”
That’s powerful imagery for a parent. The imagery of a small, handful of meaningful things, hanging in an otherwise empty closet. I’ve tried to imagine those things staring me in the face at the end of my children’s time living under our roof. Who knows what Jack or Jamison’s remaining things will be, maybe a baseball glove, a tattered, but favorite book, a confirmation suit? I don’t know. And, only time will tell, but just trying to project what those things might be and what that might feel like, makes me want to pry open my eyelids with toothpicks, so no involuntary blinking takes place.
I consider it a blessing to hear about the parenting experiences of those ahead of me. It gives me perspective and assurance. Friends and family are such an amazing resource when it comes to parenting. I feel so lucky to have so many wonderful parent friends to turn to. Those adeptly skilled at discerning when to offer you advice, and when to simply act as a sounding board. One that boomerangs back to you and lifts you up when you need it most. Those that tell you, it’s okay, you’re doing an amazing job even when you don’t feel like you’re doing an amazing job. Those that say, “no, you’re not losing your marbles or yes, sometimes I lose my marbles, too.” And sometimes, the really good ones, the best ones, they help you pick up the marbles and reassemble them back into your jar, in to an even more beautiful installation than before. They are such a great reservoir of comfort and encouragement. I hope they all know who they are. I hope I tell them thank you, enough.
Speaking of amazing jar filler-uppers, my cup runneth over with quality girlfriend time the last two weekends. We had a wonderful weekend helping my very creative and talented friend Renee with her first antique/seasonal barn sale. While Renee and I were busy setting up and helping customers, our kids were enjoying themselves playing oh so intently in the mud puddles that day. They had their boots on, their buckets and shovels in hand, what could be better? They were playing so nicely, until Jack & Bella decided it would be fun to rub muddy handprints all over a customer’s car. Thank goodness Renee knew them and they were very gracious about the new mud bath their car received. Here are the culprits in question before they got the bright idea to smear their artwork on an innocent bystander’s car. I remember thinking, oh look how good they are being, entertaining themselves, and keeping out of trouble while Renee & I are busy.
My girl Renee has big plans and big dreams and I have every bit of confidence in her to bring them all to fruition. Check out the Rustic Barn at Prairie Gardens here, here and here if you don’t already know about it. Renee & her husband Tim are the most gracious hosts and this farmette is their beautiful little slice of happily ever after. And now, it’s available to rent for other couple’s happily ever afters, too. There’s nothing more inspirational than a determined woman with a dream and a plan.
Some more of October’s finding joy moments as of late:
Tractor rides with Grandpa or as Jamison says “Boppa!”
Jamison’s little clasped hands and the glowing light of a sinking sun
2 sleepy cubbies + 1 arms full grandpa + 1 backwards grandma goodbye hug = love
Harvesting Jack’s pumpkins ~ Thanks Grandma Gail for helping Jack plant them this summer!
This past weekend, I made my biannual trip up to the Twin Cities to visit my sweet girlfriend Sarah. We met in college what feels like forever ago. And, even though she is 5 hours away and we are both busy with family and life, every time we get together, we’re still always the same. The true mark of an amazing friendship in my opinion. To have months and months pass by that scarcely dim the light of your relevancy to each other. One or two glasses of wine later and you’re all caught up.
I used to dread the 5 hour trek there because it seemed like an eternity when I just wanted to be there already, but now I really enjoy the drive. I enjoy the quiet, the scenery this time of year is amazing and when else can I “read” an entire book on cd in one trip? This weekend’s book: Heaven is for Real.
I can’t remember the last time I laughed and cried so much in one weekend. Oh, it felt so good to laugh so hard we cried. Another mark of an amazing friendship, when you have to excuse yourself to go check the mascara you are confident is running down your face from copious tears of laugher. Sarah, thank you for the adventure this weekend. I love you and your beautiful family, so much!
p.s. Thank you for reminding me of the golden rule of shopping. When evaluating between two items to determine which one to get, buy both. No regrets! Even if it is two large pieces of furniture you have no way of transporting home and you live a gazillion miles away.
See, and you thought blinking, marbles, mud and girlfriends didn’t have anything in common, didn’t you?