I was out walking this morning and this picture made me so happy. It’s November in Texas and we are still waking up to 74 degree mornings. When I see these leaves scattered on the ground, I know that summer will eventually relinquish its death grip on Texas. My hair could use a break from the humidity, and we are still seeing mosquitoes, and crickets, and yes, cockroaches scurrying around and snakes swimming in the bayou because that first real cold snap has not arrived to signal that its time to think about transitioning deep into the ground for winter and joining the rest of the bug community or the other hibernating snakes.
I can identify with that. Stuck somewhere between having children to raise, and becoming an empty nester in the coming decade, I feel a little lost between seasons sometimes. And as a result, I’ve lost my community. Those ladies that I pushed baby joggers with, played Bunko with, chatted at the bus stop with, and yes, competed with in the mothering department, the volunteering department, the income department, they just aren’t around anymore, or maybe they are and I haven’t noticed. I went back to work full time, and now there just isn’t time. While they were my friends, there was always an edginess to the friendship, and every mom reading this knows what I’m talking about. But for better or worse, they were my community.
Life is different now. My most important job right now is to usher my kids into responsible adulthood. It is not an easy task, making sure on a daily basis, that your kids don’t grow up to be jerks. Raising kind, caring, self-aware, highly functioning individuals who currently can’t seem to cut their own frozen pizza, is not a task for the faint-hearted. What I struggle with, in this season of preparing my kids, is the fact that all of my own peeps have scrambled. I’m not sure where to head for community. Like Mother Nature, the leaves are on the ground but it’s still hot outside. I just don’t want to come up empty handed in a few years when my kids have left home, and not have a strong circle of support. I’m finding that friends are important to have, no matter what season of life.
Lately, I’ve been trying to take time to cultivate the relationships that pop up in daily life, like with Sani, my 60 year old Chinese friend from work, who is teaching me how to play the stock market or, my daughter’s friends’ moms who agree to exercise at 5 a.m. with me, but aren’t interested in being a size 4 like we all were “back in the day.” They get it. They have teenagers, and like me, walk around wondering what hit them. We meet each other in our busy-ness in an organic way. We can’t help but cross paths. Maybe that is God’s way of saying, “Stick with these chicks, they can teach you something.”
The try-hard days of my thirties are over. I’m no longer out to mass market myself to win the “right” friends. Gone is the desire to be on the invite list for every neighborhood party, or Girl’s Night, or to overcommit to the PTA, just for the sake of being known. Nowadays, I figure the leaves can fall where they may. My idea of what a friend is might be a little different now.