Monday, October 14, 2013

31 for 21: Hug Them Tight

I was completely MIA this weekend.  I am sorry.  I'll explain why in the course of this post...

Once upon a time...I was a lost lamb...I didn't know how to make friends...I serendipitously stumbled onto them and then held them tightly...I have mentioned before that I am an such relationships have always been a bit tricky...I have always and forever sought the "Unwritten Friendship Laws," you know, if you behave in this manner, then you will earn a friendship that will be the stuff of legends and classics...  I could count on a hand the number of Friends I have had at any given time...until recently...

Recently, I have found a cache of people that are on the fringes...some who are lightly antisocial; some who have children with a disability; some who are so hurt and damaged by life, that they are too fragile for a mainstream social life; and some who have simply discovered the ability to socialize and make friends via internet mediums, socializing without the pain of actual face-to-face interaction...  Here in my late 30's I have more friends than I have ever had in my life...I have the social life that most people have in their college years... 

I have asked myself why this boom in the last 10 years?

Coincidentally, the same time frame that I have had Elise...

I think much of it, I can credit to her.

Since having Elise, I pursued people that are a few steps ahead of me in life, searching for concrete suggestions on how to support Elise best.  I have had TONS of therapists and medical professionals pour into my otherwise quiet life.  I have super analyzed each and every emotion that has passed through my mind with intensity, to see what I needed to "fix" to be a better mother, to explain how I felt and what people needed to know to be better friends to Elise and myself, and how I could be a better friend to new parents.  I have completely deconstructed every social interaction with everyone to be able to figure out what social cues Elise is missing and how I can help her decode them properly.  And how to respond to people appropriately.

That said, before I broke down my life to minutia, I had very few people I counted as friends and I was hyper-appreciative of of whom I had lost close contact with, due to massive life changes in both of our lives.  Happily, along with the childhood friends that saved me from being completely adrift, Facebook restored him to me again.

I explain this all to you, so you understand the magnitude of even my past friendships...

On Saturday, I saw a vaguely worded post suggesting tragedy, that brought fear to my heart...after some brief Facebook Sherlocking, I confirmed my deepest fears...

My friend lost his son.

His son was 4, when we were close friends, a golden child with chocolate eyes that was one of those ebullient, bigger than life kids...he was bewitching.  He no longer lives in this world.  We are the worse without souls like that.  I have no idea who he became over the last 17 years.  But personalities like that, enrich your life, whether you are in a smooth sailing patch or a bumpy one....

As a mother, any knowledge of a lost child, will turn you into a quivering crazy.  Knowing that child will break your heart.  Knowing the child and loving the parents will drive pain into your very soul.

I didn't write this weekend, to save you all from "Our Town"-like declarations...

"Does anyone ever realize life while they live it...every, every minute?"

Elise has been restored to us, in miraculous ways, 4 times.  I don't know why.  She won't save the world with her brilliance as an adult.  But each and every time, I realized afresh, how fragile our lives are.  With every restoration, I questioned "Why my kid?"  Why not a kid with limitless potential?  I still question it.  I question it again today...

We are in a easy patch with Elise, or as easy as it can been in tween medical complications...Nowadays, I am fighting for the day to day paths for her...some people may think that is not worth the time and energy that we make it out to be...but trust me, the day to day is the prize...the monotony the treasure.

So, be thankful that your kids are making you crazy and that you are yelling at them to do their homework.  Be thankful that they are rolling their eyes at you.  Be thankful that you are considering applying thumbscrews to your kid to pick up their laundry.  Be thankful that they are still demanding you to tuck them in to bed.  Be thankful that you can pet their hair.  Be thankful for the drive-by hug as you are in the sink to your elbows.  Because not everyone who wakes up this morning will have that privilege tonight.

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” 
~Thornton Wilder

Go hug your kids.  Right now.  Have a post 9-11 week.  Make memories.  Appreciate them for their strengths.  Tell them you love them.

Be sure you can say like my friend poignantly wrote:
"I am so glad my children and I always, always hug and say I love [you] when we part, and that, that was how we parted Friday when [he] left work."


  1. Beautiful and painful reminder to treasure all of the moments. Sometimes I think I drive Samantha crazy hugging and kissing her all the time. I worry about the day when she no longer wants that, but for now, I love the giggles and love knowing that she knows how much she is loved. I'm sorry to hear about your friend's son.

  2. When ever Little Bear drives me bananas. I think about my blogging buddy who lost her daughter. It calms me instantly and reminds me that life is fleeting. A wise post, Tiffany. Hold them close, hug them tight, and don't take them for granted.