Category: the inevitability of change

new, old, silver, gold

Disclaimer: I did my best with pix. I could have spent 20 years on those… ;)

It’s no surprise that I have a heart after friendship, so much that even celebs I’ve never met feel like part of my circle… like, I just know that Johnny Cash and I are going to be BFFs in Heaven…

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I fall for people hard, and I protect my friendships ferociously. And because of our travels for a few years, and the miracle (yes, miracle) of the Internets, I have friends I have 1) Never met in person, 2) Might never see again, 3) ‘Talk’ to nearly every day but rarely hear their voices or see them.

And you know what? That’s not always enough.

Looking back now, I realize that when I moved away from my very, very comfortable, in-person circle, even though I said I wanted to make new friends, I had a wall up.

And then it came down.

And then, I spent months being disappointed, disillusioned, left out, rejected, etc, because …

well, because I expected for my new friends to be just like my old friends.

Last week, my sweet hubs posted this song for me. It’s by 2 celebs who would probably be my friends <smile>. I have loved their duets since I was a child (c’mon, ’80s children… you know you belted “Islands in the Stream” in the backseat of your mom’s car and the front seat of your own…No? Just me?).

The song is called, “You Can’t Make Old Friends,” and it’s sung by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton.

The message to me: you can’t rush intimacy. You can’t rush history.

But you know what else? You can’t erase it either.

My old friends? They’re still my friends. We can pick up where we left off. We can celebrate and share burdens across miles. We can reminisce just like always, and on special occasions, we can still have nights to remember.

My new friends? We are creating history. Today we share the laughs that will be next year’s inside jokes. Today we meet each other’s kids and parents and learn each other’s stories so that 10 years from now, we can recall them and say, “Remember?”

To the old friends who remain,
…the ones from kindergarten, the ones from college,the ones from teaching, the ones from the mommy-ing, the ones from the gospel years…
I cherish you. I always will.

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To the new friends who are along for the ride…
…the ones who have gathered around our table or shared your own, the ones who have loved my kids, the ones who visited the hospital, the ones who stand barefoot in the backyard, the sisters and brothers who’ve seen me laugh, cry, sweat, squirm, and flourish in these last 2.5(!!) years,

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I cherish you.  And I sure hope some of you are fixin’ to be my old friends.

To my best friend, who has added brother, sister, girlfriend, shopping partner, mommy date, and so many other roles to his Husband, Love, Best Friend, Partner In All Things status during various times since May 2011~

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you’re still the best.

 

the end of an era, you might say

That’s what Monica called it, so it works for me…

This morning was likely the last we all woke up with Paige living under our roof.

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It’s different than leaving for college. She’ll be going to college…but she left to start her life.

Who doesn’t know what I’m talking about
Who’s never left home, who’s never struck out
To find a dream and a life of their own
A place in the clouds, a foundation of stone

She left 2 years ago to do the college thing… the one she’d always talked about. That was much scarier and traumatic. We were so new in town. There was no one here to say goodbye. There was no one here to miss her like we do. There was no one to offer understanding and solace.

This time is so different. We are all older, wiser, and more familiar. Paige was sent off with dinners and cupcakes and even a concert at the beach last night (I mean, it wasn’t actually in her honor, but still….)

So today has basically been a hodge-podge of quieter emotions and some reflection… about how much Paige is like her daddy (almost stoic in the face of emotional circumstances), about how this feels like she’s never coming back (I predicted a pastorate over a cowboy church in Montana…we’ll see), about how neat it is to see her through the eyes of our mutual friends as they bid her farewell and offer her support in her ministry endeavors, about how our nest is now half-empty, and we have ways to go…

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It was also a hodge-podge of our usual pop culture quotables. My day started with “The Living Years,” originally Mike & The Mechanics and recently/beautifully by The Isaacs. It quicly turned into Many Friends Quotes, namely from the episodes about Rachel moving out of Monica’s apartment (“IT’S THE END OF AN ERA…YOU MIGHT SAY!”) And finally, as we hugged goodbye, I couldn’t help but warble in my nearly-gone voice the lyrics of the Dixie Chicks first hit, because:

She needs wide open spaces,
room to make the big mistakes.
She needs new-ew-ew faces,
she knows the high stakes…

It was fun. Really.

And there were pictures… from a sisters’ goodbye, a little breakfast we got to have just with Rod, Paige, and me, and from this evening…when the little girls chose hot dogs and pool time to drown their proverbial sorrows. They’re all gonna be alright! <smile>
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summer lovin’ happened so fast

The #bestsummerever is quickly transitioning to #readyforfall.

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This week is the culmination of sorts. The last of our summer visitors will say goodbye. Paige is packing to leave for her new life in Charlotte (I need to learn how to spell that) with Shabbach Masters’ Commission on Monday. Then we will begin the countdown to having a kindergartner and first grader.

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The circle of life... is exhausting.

I was pretty sure my emotions were at bay until about an hour ago, when my husband sent me my new phone number. It seems after 2 years and 3 months in a new state, I am finally able to make the change. With the school and with work, it makes sense.

But seeing that 843-xxx-xxxx started me on a road of nostalgia. After all, I’ve been 708 since 1989, when 312 changed and well…whatever. Chicago has a lot of area codes. We had 3 or 4 in the same household. Myrtle Beach has one, and it’s time to embrace it.

 

Other things I’m embracing this week~

Our house is going bye-bye…our house in Illinois, that is. It’s full of details and very typical 2013 economics, but I’m thankful for closing this chapter. It is a house full of beautiful memories… getting married, making a family, bringing our babies home…but it stopped being where I thought of as home a long time ago. HOME is where we are together, my love and me, our kids (as many of them as we can have around!), and whoever is daring enough to call themselves our family. One of the most profound lessons learned for me in the past 2 years and 3 months is that definition of home.

IMG_2699Our wedding anniversary is Thursday. 10 years, baby, 10 YEARS! Yes, we celebrated this in March, on our marriage anniversary. Yes, we got married twice, so we celebrate twice every year. We will be delaying a big date night a little bit because of all the other stuff going on. But really, every day is a celebration with this guy! I’m thankful for the great health God has blessed him with this year. I’m thankful almost every moment of this #bestsummerever involved him being able to play and bask and enjoy with us!

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The week ahead will include scurried calls to update the phone number, turn summer hair into back-to-school hair, find the perfect backpacks, cook an awesome steak-and-fettuccine-alfredo-farewell-dinner, soak in some more free summer movies, find a babysitter to keep on retainer, and…get me to the beach.

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These faces make it easy to have a blast, even when the boat rocks or the waves take us by surprise.

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Lots of mixes metaphors here. I’m on medicine (for just a few days, thankfully) that makes my heart beat fast…and my emotions are trying to keep up with all the crazy change, again.

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Stay happy, friends. Summer isn’t over yet!

invite / accept

invitedThere is no greater gift to me than an invitation.

I love being invited to come, to share, to participate, to dine, to join, to stay.

I love it when my children are extended any of the same.

I love to open up and invite others in… sit, take off your shoes, open my refrigerator, pet my dog, hug my girls.

Be in my life. Save me a seat for yours…

~

The past weeks have involved some serious inner growth. I have been looking at relationships in a new way. It is all due to some disciplined study of how God loves {without expectation}, how leaders approach people {with something to give rather than something to gain}, and understanding compassion {others’ needs over my wants}. Something in all of this mix has blended together and filled my cup. Along with this is a realization: nothing will ever be like it was. Nothing will ever be like it is in my best-case scenario. People can never fill the gaps we have in our own hearts. But God… He can. And then ~

– it becomes rewarding to hug someone because she needs it, and let it go, and be ok.

– it becomes just fine to hang out at home all day on a Saturday, with my family, doing chores and doing nothing, because they’re my people first.

– it becomes acceptable that some people are only in our lives for a season, because we learned, we loved, we grew, and maybe we do the same for others in our seasons, too.

– it becomes a step of maturity to let intensity and need fade into peace and security, knowing that people who love us are “here” for us even when they aren’t always active spectators in our everyday.

– it becomes more important to be available and open for others than it is to worry about dry spells and empty spots on our agendas. In fact, it becomes freeing not to have an agenda at all!

I think I have spent a good portion of life waiting on an invitation to the in crowd, the cool lunch table, the front row, the VIP room… and now as I find myself in a new phase of life (we will call it settled in), the most important – most invitinginvitation in my eyes is the one to someone’s home, someone’s heart, someone’s life. Let me in, even though you have some piles of paper in the counter. Let me in, even though we’re both disheveled and gun-shy. Let me in, even though it’s risky to trust someone, even though friendship is hard, even though….

I’m grateful tonight for the invitations I’ve sent, even the ones rejected. They mean my heart is open.

I’m grateful tonight for the invitations offered, especially those I thought would never come. They are always worth the wait.

 

2 Years

So what were the questions…?

Basically, they all started with “how long before…?” Some of them were quite simple, but took longer than I’d have thought, like:

– we find family doctors?
– I can go from one end of the strand to the next without using Google Maps, and I don’t panic when someone asks me for directions?
– we don’t immediately turn to tourist traps as our recreational destinations?
– people ask me where to go to get their hair done?
– I have a regular-standing-girls-night-out again?
– I know other parents?
– I say we are going to a Pelicans baseball game or to get Mexican food without smirking?
– I learn that Walmart must be avoided on the weekends from April-August?
– we have a hang-out worthy patio, with party lights?
– we become south-side snobs (again!)?
– we have favorite beaches. Ranked. (for the record, MB State Park, followed by Huntington State Park, followed by Surfside Pier).
– we form opinions about bike week? (for the record, in favor)
– I have random run-ins with people I know? (for the record, that actually, suddenly, seems to be happening more here than it did in the Chicago south suburbs where I lived for 35 years!)

But then, my heart, there are the other questions, the ones I spoke only to myself or my husband… the ones to which I didn’t really want the answers… the ones that I still can’t verbalize, even though now…I know.

They involve moving on…relationships…instincts…feelings…home. They’re a little scary and a lot bittersweet. In some ways, acknowledging the answers to those brings me to the exact same tight rope feeling I had when we first moved.

The last question that shares the answer is: How long will I be the new girl?

Incidentally, the related question that is still unanswered is:
How long will I feel like the new girl?

I hope it’s 3 years…or maybe even 2 and a half.

~

ridearoundwithyouNothing on this ‘adventure’ – and I mean nothing, and I mean adventure – has gone how we thought, planned, hoped. We have lived through some of the hardest times of our life here…and we have celebrated some of the best. And that is what to hope for, it seems… balance, perspective, and faith to face whatever comes.

I can’t be thankful enough for not just the ride, but who shares it with me.

Happy Chicagolina-versary.

~

Wow…two years!