{Dear Daughters} On being the first to crack

{Dear Daughters} On being the first to crack

Years ago not long after moving to Memphis, we met a new couple in our small group. They asked us over for dinner and that night while she was finishing up the meal she pulled the strangest contraption from her drawer. I had never seen anything like it, so I asked her what it was. She told me it was an avocado slicer. While she raved about this little invention, I jokingly gave her a hard time about how truly “difficult” it was to cut an avocado with just a knife. We laughed together and moved on to dinner with our men. But I would never look at an avocado again without thinking of her.

It would only be a short while later that we would both enter the darkest season of our lives to date. I remember vividly sitting on my guest bed (back when we actually had a guest bed) and talking to her on the phone. In between tears and some needed silence, we cracked. We said the hard, vulnerable words about what we were facing. Our situations were very different, but our pain was shared. We walked through those days together and many, many more. She now lives several states away, but we text daily and talk on the phone several times a week–usually with loud kids in the background. And every year Jess and I save our pennies and get on a plane (where I usually end up needing the little white baggie and poor Jess has to order ginger ale for me), so we can fly to the sunshine state and the three of us can sit around the same table and talk about nothing and everything and then some more.

What started with an avocado slicer became one of the greatest gifts of my adult life. But someone had to crack. Someone had to say the hard, vulnerable words. Someone had to listen. And someone had to return vulnerability with her own hard, vulnerable words. This is how true friendship goes.

It’s scary–a bit like walking into that junior high dance where boys are on one wall and girls on the other and you just want to go home and put on your pjs and watch Full House. But walk over to that wall of girls. Look for the one who makes eye contact with you but looks equally scared. Remember that the ones who look like they have it all together are broken too. We all are. Don’t even pretend like you have it all together. That just delays real friendship. Go ahead and let your guard down. Sometimes it will be a bust. You will have a nice conversation, but it might not be a forever friendship type thing. That’s ok. Keep putting yourself out there. Keep being willing to crack. Because eventually you’ll find your avocado slicers. And you’ll have found that rare and treasured gift of true friendship.

 

Life Before Lists

Life Before Lists

photo (54)Dear neighbors, we apologize. Our yard has been mowed on average once every 3.5 weeks. I would like you to notice there are no weeds, so at least it’s lush grass that’s growing a mile high.

Dear friend, thank you for not saying anything about the fur balls the size of Texas tumbleweed when you came over. Thank you also for ignoring that wet dog smell that was created by, well, wet, dirty dogs. {And wet, dirty kids.}

Dear family, please forgive me because I just found Lydia’s thank you notes from her birthday {which was in May} in a stack of papers. Also, in that stack–my driver’s license renewal form {semi-important} and hospital pre-registration forms that were supposed to be filled out in the first trimester {oops}.

So, as you can clearly see I’ve never been more on top of life. I’ve gotten almost nothing done on my to-do list this summer, but we have done a lot of living. Road trips, lake trips, beach trips, zoo trips–we’ve put some miles on Pearl {the Maxima}. We’ve been wet, dirty, salty, sandy, lake-y. We’ve danced and chased fireflies and eaten electric blue ice cream. And we’ve made the most of the moments we’ve been given.

Life before lists. This planner {recovering control-freak} is finding it’s a great way to live.

 

A Girl, a Plane and the Little White Bag

A Girl, a Plane and the Little White Bag

3b492-dsc_2797Last week, I gave my friend Jess a fun, new memory when I had to pull out the little white barf bag on our flight to Orlando. I knew it was going to be bad when they warned us prior to boarding the plane that the crew was expecting a lot of turbulence. As the girl who got motion sick sitting in the movie theater watching a volleyball named Wilson, I knew I was in trouble. I took my Zofran (the drug that became my best friend during my second pregnancy.)

They weren’t lying. Turbulence was putting it mildly. I survived the first flight, we made our connection, and we boarded the second flight only to receive a similar message. “Prepare yourselves for turbulence.” I took another Zofran and closed my eyes. While we endured what felt like a mini roller coaster I could feel myself getting sicker and sicker. And then the little white bag had to make an appearance. And sweet Jess calmly went and asked for a ginger ale. I took a few sips and prayed for landing. The guy to my left must have been praying the same thing for as soon as the plane’s wheels touched down he was out of his seat headed towards the exit. Poor man. I fear I might have scarred him for life.

Turbulence. It happens. A friendship hits a bump in the road. We get slighted or left out. A friend overlooks us. Someone else gets the recognition. Unexpected bills throw us for a loop. Expectations aren’t met. Someone betrays us. We get rejected. The answer is no. We look in the mirror and don’t like what we see. Our kid doesn’t make the team. The doctor finds a spot.

Sometimes it feels like a bump in the road. Other times it feels like we bypassed the line and got thrown on Space Mountain. Turbulence looks different for everyone but it still happens to everyone. How do we traverse the bump without becoming derailed?

Laugh. Laughter diffuses a tense situation. Laugh at yourself. Laugh over chips and queso with good friends. Google “What Does the Fox Say?” and laugh at that. But never underestimate the power of laughter.

Give. The moment I hit turbulence, an invitation goes out for a pity party. The focus is all about me, where I’m lacking, what I wish I had, why she left me out. But if I turn it around and make it all about someone else, suddenly my mood starts to lift. Give money, give time, give encouragement, give hugs, give forgiveness. When you hit turbulence, give. I know it doesn’t seem to make sense, but it works.

Keep on flying. Don’t camp out in the rough patch. Bama used to have this running back, and I loved watching him play because his feet never stopped moving. Even when four defenders were pushing him to the ground, his feet kept moving. And when the play seemed dead and the whistle was about to be blown, he would push off the tackles and get to the first down line, sometimes even the goal line. His feet never stopped.

Eventually, I got to Orlando, barf bag and all. Well, I left the barf bag on the plane, but I gave the flight attendant my most apologetic smile. Turbulence will happen. But how we respond is up to us. Laugh and give and keep on flying.