You’re it!

He’d been in the pool for all of 5 min before I heard him yell out “you’re it!” which means either he or the other kids had said “Want to be friends?”

It will never cease to amaze me how fast and easy kids can make “friends”. When then do we lose that gift? As I’ve gotten older it has definitely become harder to make friends. Are my expectations too high? Or are they too low, and so I sabotage any friendship before it has any chance of growing into anything better.

I look at when I made friends: elementary school, if it wasn’t for facebook I don’t think I would speak to any of them. (I suppose I don’t really speak to them). Middle School/Jr. High I went to a school other than my homeschool so I think that may have hindered communication with some of the grade school friends. Would that be different now in the age of texting and IM’ing? High School for one reason or another I ended up going to 4 different schools. I speak to only one person from middle/jr  and only a couple of people from high school are actually part of my life again if not for FB. Even those people are mostly linked to my wife (whom I met in high school).

The next chapter in my life was the military. I spent xx years in the Marine Corps and I made bonds with people that I know will be actually part of my life forever. Each bond stronger than the last. From training to actual combat. I can remember meeting each of those people and what they meant and how they got me through those tough days and the of course the tough days that follow an enlistment.

After the Marine Corps I didn’t think I’d make friends again. I then joined a group of athletes that showed me I couldn’t be more wrong. I remember the first few days and probably weeks and months it took for me to open up to them. I felt they’d never understand me. They do understand, and surprisingly enough I understand them. As I write these words I come to the realization that it’s been 4 years since I met those folks and I haven’t made any real friends since then. So again, why do we or I refuse to make these connections. Certainly I’ve met people in the last 4 years, right? Yet none really important as all those previously mentioned. (One that comes close I feel close to only because his name and everything about him reminds me of a friends that is very sadly no longer just a phone call away.)

Just as the “you’re it!” earlier made me take a look at friendship and the part it’s played in my life. His goodbye gave me some more insight. “OK bye” and then he walked my way. “I made a friend dad” he exclaimed. Before we even made it to the elevator he had moved on. So I guess there’s just no pressure when we’re young because we haven’t dealt with loss yet. As I’ve grown older I guess I’m done wanting to invest too much of myself in someone I might lose. I will continue to treasure those in my very small circle of friends. All the while hoping it was still OK as adults to say “Want to be friends?”

 

#projectreflect12 ~ December 4: Mistakes Made, Lessons Learned

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December 4: Mistakes Made, Lessons Learned

We all make mistakes, but sometimes those mistakes shape us as people. Was there a mistake you made in 2012 that taught you a major life lesson? What advice could you give to someone about not making the same mistake?

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We certainly all, as a human race, make mistakes. Those same mistakes shape us as people, because the consequences of our actions/mistakes can stay with us for the rest of our lives. That being said, I wrestled with the idea of sharing this mistake with the world or picking something more trivial. Until now I’ve been in denial, trying to convince those around me & myself that it was the right decision. I can now with out a doubt say that it was undeniably a mistake. I will forever live with the decision made and I’m not even sure how to come to terms with myself.

You see I lost my grandmother this year. Some in the family would agree that at her advanced age and diminishing health it was for the best. For all intensive purposes it was expected and I had tried to ready myself for it. I think this is where I lost my way. In the process of coming to terms with death and because of my success at desensitizing myself to it. I simply chose to stay away. Even as I type this I fight back the emotions that have weighed me down since her passing.

I was at work and received a call from my very grief stricken mother. I suspected the worse and waited to hear that she had passed. Instead it was to implore me to head over in efforts to see my grandmother perhaps for the very last time. It took everything I had to tell my mother I couldn’t bear to go. I hadn’t even disconnected the call when my aunt who was by my grandmothers side called to give me the same news.

I did not/could not bring myself to make the trip to see her. I cried myself to sleep that night. As I thought about my mothers pain. As I pondered the blow my entire family would take from this loss. I called over and over also hoping to get an update saying everything was better. That my grandmother was OK, I now see the selfishness in even wanting that because of the pain she was and had been for sometime.

Bottom line is that I was too weak. As I fought to remember the vibrant woman who had helped my mother and father raise from the time I had reason, I reverted back to the child she use to coddle. All my bravado and heart full of resolve was crushed with the weight of my impending loss. When the call finally came, I told myself I was ready and tried to be there for my mother. After all death makes you really take account of what is going on in your life. I still thought I had made the right decision.

The day came when we said our final good byes and as I walked to her side and saw her body there lifeless it hit me so hard I could hardly breathe. I knew the moment I saw her and that smile, that had always been there for me even when others were crushed at her not knowing them, would never be there again. I will never forget that I had a chance to see her even if just for a few minutes so I could tell her one last time how much she meant to me.

I will never forget how many different people told me I should and I a grown man refused to listen to reason and behaved like a child. It is not lost on me that in a style true to her she’d teach me something so valuable for the rest of my life as an adult where many I love will leave me as I too will leave some loved ones behind. I can only hope to share this knowledge before it’s too late for someone else.