There is an old phrase that has stuck with me, “The older you get the more you need the people you knew when you were younger.” I searched for an authentic author but came up empty handed. I first heard it in a slide show labeled, ‘Wear Sunscreen.’ I haven’t thought about the phrase for a while. We just celebrated Christmas 2016 and it proved to be in interesting one. My husband and I, along with our children, moved 7 hours away from everything we knew about six months ago. We still don’t regret it. It was the best decision we’ve made so far. The holiday season proved to be different. I’ve personally been traveling back and forth a lot to allow the grandparents to visit with the children and allow the children to visit with cousins, etc. We even drove back to celebrate the baby’s first birthday, there. You get the picture. My toddler asks for and misses his grandparents daily. Especially his cousin Abby. So we were excited to visit for the holidays.
The week we were packing up to leave the stomach virus hit our house. First it was the toddler….then my husband. Luckily, me and the baby did not catch it. When the time came for us to leave everyone was feeling much better. Off we went. We stay at my Mother-in-Law’s house when we travel. She is very hospitable and gracious with the mess the children make along with any arrangements that need to be changed in order for us to be comfortable. We can sleep upstairs, downstairs, in her bed, in the guest bed, wherever we need to be so that the kids are okay. And that means the world to me. It’s difficult to travel with very small children. Having a host that loves your kids as much as you do really helps!
I’ve also learned that your friends will fade and wither as you move and visit. There will be some that make an effort to plan to see you even before you start traveling back. There will be some that want a heads up when you are in town to see what they can swing. And still there will be some that won’t even bother when you are in town celebrating something really important to you. And that’s okay. All friendships have their seasons. This experience has me pondering that old quote I came across a while back.
Yeah. I believe that. The older I get the more I tend to look back on experiences of when I was young. For example, I think all parents have learned to have a new appreciation of their own parents. I have two small children so I am always thinking back to how things were with my own parents. How I was disciplined. How I was encouraged. I wonder how I measure up sometimes. Other times I look back on experiences with friends. Have we really been in a sparse season for a while now and I’m just noticing? Am I giving her as much effort as she’s giving me? Are my efforts being matched? Again, how am I measuring up?
Since we’ve moved I haven’t made any new ‘friends.’ I stay at home with the kids so other than taking them on outings (which I never see other moms at) I don’t really have an opportunity to meet new people. My husband has met a few people at work, and the kids have adjusted well. My toddler LOVES his little school. So I was thinking….what if I didn’t have any friends back home either…what would that be like? And that’s when the quote popped into my head. “…the more you need the people you knew when you were younger.” And I do. Something about hanging onto them helps me hang onto my past. I like my past. Most of it. What would it feel like to really let go of the friendships that are just lingering because it’s too awkward to break the ties? What would you have left to connect you to your past? Memories aren’t warm tangible breathing links.
Once we got to my Mother-In-Law’s my toddler starting screaming in pain. He had be treated for an ear infection 4-5 days earlier and was pulling at his ear a lot. I took him to his old pediatrician in our old home town for a check. His full physical exam turned up clean but his blood work showed a little trace of the viral infection he had earlier that week. Since one of my parents doesn’t have an immune system we couldn’t take him to my family’s house for Christmas. And since my stomach started hurting later, I couldn’t go either. Damnit. Well, that night my little man slept terrible. He was cranky all the next day, too. And sure enough when it came time for bed he was screaming so bad that he was actually biting his pillow in pain. Literally. He kept screaming, “Momma my ear!” So at 9:30 PM on Christmas Eve me and my husband took him to Lebonheur Children’s Hospital. They, too, found NOTHING wrong. We asked every question about anything even remotely related to what it COULD be. I know he was hurting, I saw him with my own eyes.
Fast forward, we get him home with no treatment and finally to sleep. Santa Claus showed up, Christmas Day was perfect and you never would have known we were even at the hospital hours before. Because we were possibly harboring a virus we never could go visit with my family. My dad came over to see us for 2 hours to play with the kids, etc. but it wasn’t the same. I feel bad for saying it but it was a bad Christmas for me. It just sucked. I missed just being with the people I love and know.
I’ve had a lot of time to think about why it weighs so heavy on my heart. And it’s true…..I need the people I knew when I was younger. I need that connection. I need that warm-bodied reminder that I existed in another time period with someone, anyone. And that I was still considered a priority to exist with them now, too. Yes, I need my friends back ‘home.’ I need them to need me too. And I think they do. Some are in a quiet season with me and there’s a mutual understanding that comes with that. We are raising babies, fulfilling dreams with our spouses and doing our best to prevent/rid wrinkles and cellulite. All with a plate of tacos and a monster margarita. Missing my family and friends this holiday season really brought to light how much I will always need them. No matter who moves away or stays safely nestled in the ‘what-I’ve-always-known’ zone. No matter who is healthy as ever or walking through a valley. And most importantly no matter how old we get. Because we are, after all, getting older.
Happy New Year,
Your Mediocre Mom