prepare to FOSTER RELATIONSHIPS

What a day (note started on Tuesday)… but isn’t amazing that at an end of a day that is so packed full I feel the most alive.  I know exactly why – I filled it with PEOPLE and not things… PEOPLE and not task… PEOPLE and not problems.  I am so guilty of NOT taking the time for the PEOPLE in my life and really need to prepare to FOSTER RELATIONSHIPS!

On Sunday, my brother/sister Bill and Bev hosted a family picnic. Though the food was mighty tasty and brought back some memories of childhood (mac-n-cheese and baked beans), the conversation was better.  Though geographically close for most of our lives, getting together has not always been successfully accomplished.  Excuses would include our busy schedules, waiting till everyone could come, and/or  no one organized it.  I think as we age, we realize the importance of family relationships, and though we may not see each other but a couple times a year, all it would take is a phone call and we would have each other’s back.  However, we are already talking about the winter get-together (=  (Mom and Grandma would be smiling down).

As I reflect over time, I think about the many nights playing cards with Bruce and Chris and Ed and Robin.  Even the time I was on bedrest and I laid on the couch to play.  As we sat around the table as a newly married couple the conversation and encouragement, though never directly to us, were priceless.  We could have solved world problems around that table.  Now two of those wonderful men, who mentored us, are in Heaven.  We didn’t make any other plans those evenings in case a card game would come about.  We made time for PEOPLE and our lives were blessed because of it.  It’s been too long the last time Jim and I sat together as a couple (exception his work Christmas Party) and enjoyed the company of other couples.

I recall the many nights at dance class for Mary as I sat around the table the Dance Moms at the table.  No topic was off limit.  World problems could be solved there as well.  When summer happened though dance didn’t meet every week, we would still gather when we could and counted down our time back to dance.  Children were born to some of us during that time.  Weight loss and gains were discussed.  Marriage positives and issues were discussed.  I always had a stack of magazines to share with the 5 moms (including myself).  Oh, how I miss those days when life could be solved with the women of the table! 

I think about the evenings of wings at Santa Fe Grille in McHenry followed by the laughter of a movie (can’t recall laughing so hard in a very long time!), and then some enjoyable night caps and dessert!  I also recall joining the same ladies at Panera Bread for a quick lunch and conversation and laughter.  I miss the spark to my life these ladies brought!

I think of my “sister” Tammy and the many lunches we had with our friend Vickie.  Many meals, conversation, and laughter over a Chinese meal.  Tammy was there through my bedrest with Mary and stayed for the delivery (although she missed it for a cup of hot chocolate).  Time has passed and she re-married and moved on.  I am still trying to locate her and keep sending out a letter that keeps returning address not found.  I would love to know she is okay!  Vickie and I traveled many days for work.  We talked about everything and our girls grew up together. We even endured PlayHouse Disney Live at Monroeville Mall with our girls.  Hours spent in scrapbooking.  Friends from work so important to my life.

Tonight I was able to hang out at a friends home, where not only do I love to be, but my children do as well.  We are welcome with open arms and when Sam feels comfortable it is a BIG deal!  He knows where the snacks are and I get no judgment passed for his eating habits.  We can pick up where we left off in conversation whether days, weeks, or months.  The almost daily text just to say Hi or a smiley face, I know that someone is thinking of me.  Nothing like feeling thought of in this great big world.  But it had been a while since we really talked (in person) and amazing the therapy for the soul.

I also have some friends that I keep in close contact with on Facebook.  I can ask them for prayer in pure confidence that it will be said.  No matter the time that has passed their friendship is a treasure.  However, I can tell you I miss the face-to-face with these friends!  I also have a few that I have only really ever met on Facebook, but can’t wait to meet in person!

At the same time, I have a dear friend who is making some decisions that I just do not support.  There would have been the day that I would have been the agreeable friend and supported whatever they chose to do.  As time passes and our relationship has grown and changed, I felt it was imperative for me to truly step up as a friend and say I don’t agree.  It may or may not put strain on our relationship.  But, as a real friend it is my responsibility to be honest despite loving them and not wanting to hurt her feelings.

Over time, my relationships have changed, some for the good and some due to time or distance.  I have also discarded some relationships as they were toxic to who I am or want to be, and despite reaching out, it was time to pull the life preserver back and save myself.  My daughter is living the pains of friendships in the teen years.  Many friends have been “friends” due to location (i.e. school).  She has been hurt deeply by “friends” already at a young age.  I don’t remember the hurt being so early in my life with friendships.  I realize though that MANY girls learn from their mothers how to be friends OR allow their daughters to be “mean girls” to get what they want (because of course our daughters deserve the best – lol).  I would LOVE to call the moms of the girls that have truly hurt my daughter, and then I realize that many could careless.  I have now heard a message on being a mentor (a future blog on what it laid on my heart) and read a book (also a future blog) about being a mentor.  It is MY JOB as a mom, to mentor and model true friendship to my daughter. 

So, when I disagreed with my friend on her decision(s), we talked about it because 1. you can love a friend and disagree and still love each other, 2. disagreements do not have to be spoken out of anger or hate, 3. don’t throw in the towel over something that is important to save (a great relationship), and 4. it is important to be honest with those you love.  

What gets modeled from my daughters friendships has been 1. if you don’t agree with me I can call you names and talk behind your back, 2. if  you don’t agree we can’t be friends, 3. I can spread lies about your integrity when I get mad at you, and 4. I will get everyone else to hate you too!   WOW what a difference!  When my daughter has issues with a friend, we talk about it and I try to be the devils advocate in saying what the other person maybe thinking and how it could have been handled differently.   If I thought she was out of line in the relationship, I tell her.  Is she happy with me for taking the other person’s side?  Absolutely NOT!  But, I do it so she can develop real relationships and treat other people as they should be.  She is learning real friendships.  I wish more moms would step up and stop their daughters from being so mean!  (I may one day be talking like this about boys too, but so far, my experience is if boys fight they are friends later that day or by the next day; however, when girls fight they are evil, pull everyone into the fight, and it lingers for days or years).  The scary part is the girls will be carrying their knowledge of friendship into adulthood.  They will either be the bullies of the world or their world will come crashing in as they exist with no friends (i.e. Legally Blonde).  I pray my daughter goes into adulthood with a few genuine friends and that she is the friend back to them, and it is my job to model and foster that spirit within her.

Anyway, the point I started with before the bunny trail of the importance of mentoring friendships to future generations, I wanted to say that I miss those friends that I don’t see.  What stops us, probably time and mis-ordered priorities!  People should always trump things on the to-do list of life!  The same 24 hours in a day that use to exist.  However, my hours seem to get filled.  It is time to clear the schedule and prepare to FOSTER RELATIONSHIPS!  I have been trying to send little notecards out when I think of friends, but I know I think of them more than cards go out.  My heart and soul needs to have meaningful time with friends.  I need to stop waiting for the friends to reach out to me for the lunch date and reach out to them.  And to those who have made the offer, you will be getting a message in your inbox real soon!

 

“ A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out. “ – Walter Winchell

“Never above you. Never below you. Always beside you.” – Walter Winchell

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