It’s the beginning of the school year, busy times at work and the High Holidays are right around the corner. Quickly followed by Jillian’s birthday, Thanksgiving and the Winter celebrations. I haven't even figured in Brownies, riding lessons and the assorted school activities that
suck the energy fill our evenings and weekends. The lazy days of summer are certainly over. Needless to say, I’m feeling a wee bit harried and as a result, really disconnected from friends. They are all in the same boat – in some way, shape or form.
In our hyper connected times, it can be amazingly hard to stay connected in a real and meaningful way. A Facebook status update doesn’t count. I’m talking about actually getting together with a friend – a drink, movie, a meal or just a quick cup of coffee. A real conversation with complete sentences. How do we find the time and what do we sacrifice in order to make that happen?
For me, grabbing drinks or dinner and a movie with friends involves outside help. I know for others, logistics are just as crazy as they juggle multiple social calendars, work schedules and things that just have to happen – uh, like laundry and grocery shopping and if you’re lucky a shower and bathroom break.
Last weekend, I was able to catch up with J during a birthday party. We did our best but well, you know, between running them to the bathroom, fetching food, and applying sunscreen we were lucky to finish a sentence. Being in the pool was a bit better but again, we have to at least pretend to keep one eye on our kids as they sputter and splash. I was actually watching one kid swim in the pool when I realized it wasn’t mine – and mine was across the pool at the water slide. There goes my mom of the year award – but at least J and I were able to finish a complete thought. Sort of.
Another friend just asked if I wanted to go see a movie – and I do (and will) but this means finding a night and hoping a sitter is available at the same time. And, since I already need a sitter one night this coming week for back-to-school night, it’ll be a double whammy. But, this is a friend who I haven’t really spent much time with. I really admire her and know it will be a nice evening and I’ll be glad I went. I know it will be worth it. (By the way, back in the day when I babysat, I got $1 per hour – that’s right, $1. I now pay sitters between $9-$15. WTF?? Half the time my kid is asleep and almost always have a pizza delivered for them)
J and I were talking that we’d like to schedule a monthly Shabbat dinner. Not that we will be offering services around our table (we’re lucky if we can get all kids sitting at one time and no one’s hair catches fire during the candle lighting) but more as a way to re-connect, feel a little faith and have a relaxing end to the week. Pizza and wine are just bonuses – it’s really the company that counts (okay, and the wine.) Sadly, we realized we couldn’t even consider this until after the High Holidays because, well – we’re swamped. I sure hope God understands.
Another friend and I talk repeatedly about dinner (and drinks, who are we kidding) after school one night – even tried to make it happen on the first day of school. But, kids with strong opinions and general life chaos didn’t let that happen. But we still talk about it.
My good friend, K and I, are thinking of taking our girls away for a long weekend – one last beach getaway before the weather changes. And yes, we will yank them out of school (more mom of the year awards for us!) because, well, it will be a learning experience (right?) and we get a chance to really hang out, relax and spend time together – the grownups and the kids.
Friendship, like everything else, takes time and energy. Good friendships don’t need to be demanding – they will grow with wee bits of love and attention but we grow more as people when we take the time to nurture ourselves through these amazing relationships. Time with friends – just doing anything – is a chance to re-charge and remind ourselves who we are and who and what matters to us.
So this weekend, I’m going to try and schedule that movie, put the Shabbat dinner on my calendar and see what I can do to make that that beach trip happen. My friends are worth it.