The Circle of Friendship

This week, I saw my children return to school, their book bags slung over their shoulders and excitement in their eyes as they looked forward to meeting new teachers and reuniting with old friends.  As I stood there watching my nine-year-old daughter squeal in delight over seeing her friends again and as I saw them form a circle of endless chatter and laughter, it made me think about my own friendships.

Friendships are truly a gift and I have been blessed to have the support of a small group of very strong, intelligent, honest, funny, and amazing group of friends.  They are the ones who have seen me through the loss of a parent, rough patches in my marriage, difficulties at work.  They talked me off the ledge when my youngest son had colic as an infant and I suffered from mild postpartum.  They have shared a meal and a laugh with me over the years and are the only ones I can count on to tell me how I really look in jeans.

Friends are also the ones you get into trouble with or who bail you out of trouble.  They are the ones who hold your hair when you are hunched over a toilet bowl at two o’clock in the morning after making a bad decision of having ‘just one more.’  They are also the ones who hide your cell phone to stop you from calling an ex-boyfriend after being dumped and asking him “Why?”  They are the ones who scream with you the loudest at a concert, gladly losing their voice the next day or plan a fun weekend getaway to surprise you after a horrible week at work.

The older I grow, the more I come to depend on my circle of friends.  Yes, it’s true that my circle has dwindled down to a half dozen over the years but, unlike the multitude of friends I had when I was in high school, my circle now is strong and impenetrable, as opposed to the large circle I once boasted about and held out as a symbol of my popularity and my vanity.  I realize now that the problem with such a large circle is that it is often difficult to keep it together.  The larger it is, the weaker and more fragile.  In the end, it is the true friendships that are left standing after a storm, unwilling to bend or crumble.

So, although I am much, much older than a middle school aged girl; to this day, when I get together with my BFFs, we still squeal when we greet each other and yes, we still form that circle, filling it with endless laughter and chatter.  There are just some things you never want to grow out of.


Labor Day Resolutions

As I head into the last “unofficial” weekend of the summer, I am sitting here on my patio thinking about the last three months and what I’ve done with them. I think about the fun I’ve had with my children, spending time with them without the pressures of homework, soccer practices or the early morning rush to catch the bus.  I think about the vacations I’ve taken and the incredible places I’ve seen.  I think about the daily evening walks with my husband, where we’ve had the chance to reconnect.  I think about that chilled glass of wine I sipped at the end of the day.

I think about the calm of the beach, the cool breeze of the wind, the warmth of the sun, the smell of sunscreen and the way a hamburger tastes so good when it’s served up right off the grill. Basically,  I think about how summer has a way of making me slow down.

There is no other holiday that makes me reflect like this, with the exception of New Year’s Eve.  On December 31st, I look back at the year and what I’ve accomplished, growing nostalgic over growing a year older, reflecting over the good and bad times my family has had and the opportunities and challenges I’ve faced.  And then just like that, on January 1st, I turn the page and look forward to a brand new year, planning out what I need to do for the next twelve months.  It’s a start and an end for me.  I like that.

So I’ve decided that I am going to make Labor Day resolutions, the way I would on New Years Eve.  I will say goodbye to the  summer and welcome the fall with open arms and renewed promises.    I will embrace the colder days and the longer nights.  I will do a happy dance when my children go back to school and I will promise to spend more time on me.

So here goes, my Labor Day resolutions:

(1)  I promise not to go overboard with my diet.  Yes, I’d like to lose weight but one glass of beer on a weekend or a bowl of ice cream with whip cream won’t kill me, will it? If the same rules apply over the summer, why stop with the fall? Besides, the clothes are more forgiving to hide extra pounds in October than in July.  Love my sweaters!

(2)  I promise to continue spending quality time with my family. Why should that end with the summer?  Yes, its true, our lives get more hectic with work and school but that doesn’t mean I can’t spare an hour a day to have some fun.  And what I mean by fun does not involve yelling at my kids to do their homework, take showers or brush their teeth before they go to sleep.

(3)  I promise to share more of the blanket with my husband at night.  As the nights get colder, I admit I tend to be a bit of a blanket hog.  I mean, I like my feet to stay warm.  But this fall, I promise to be more giving and share the warmth.

(4)  I promise to continue to enjoy the outdoors.  I have to confess, I am a warm weather girl.  I love the beach and the feel of the sand in-between my toes but a bike ride through the park as the leaves change colors doesn’t sound like a bad way to spend an afternoon.  Neither does a tour of a winery either.  Got to make sure to put both on my calendar!

(5)  I promise to enjoy my life, every minute of every day.  I’ve got to start thinking about it in terms of the seasons and enjoy each one for what it has to offer.

(6)  Finally, if it gets really cold and snowy, if the kids are driving me crazy to the point of distraction, if the wineries are closed and my husband has taken all of the blanket in the middle of the night,  I promise to go to my computer, log online and book the next flight out to a Caribbean island and pack only a bathing suit, sunglasses and flip flops.  Summer here I come!