You know, I’m just going to start talking to you. Recently, I was with my girlfriend at the lake, and I was feeling very down. I had received some pretty shocking news. Just so you know, my girlfriends are the salt of the earth, first-class Girl Scouts in the truest sense of the word. They believe in being prepared and leaving a place better than you found it, and we always have each other’s backs. I went into that experience thinking, “Okay, we’re going to get through this. I’ve got some things to attend to and really need to clear my mind about things.” But I had an experience that shook me to my core right before I went to the lake.
Both of my parents are usually stubbornly optimistic, and in some ways, that has served them very well. I’m smiling about this. There’s something about stubborn optimism that can have you denying the reality right in front of you. Now I’m laughing.
I saw all the signs that said to me that there was a stronger need for me to be there and support my family. It doesn’t mean permanently, but it means making a more committed effort to support them, even if from afar.
You know how someone can tell you something, and you don’t want to hear it? Actually, I need to say that when somebody tells me something and I’m not ready to hear it, I don’t listen. I can be a force of nature, for good or not, never evil, yet I can suck the energy out of a room or add to it in a tremendous way!
Anyway, my girlfriends were pretty determined to get through to me. They were tired of hearing me be sad, wanting to fix things, and getting caught up in the details. I was excessively trying to fix everything. I knew and know that my girlfriends support me, love me, and have known me since we were in diapers, most of them. We’ve shared experiences like sledding, playing with our pets, being with our brothers and sisters, and competing on the tennis courts. We did all sorts of things you do in a small town, like lifeguarding together and being at the park on the jungle gym, swinging so high and jumping out of the swings. Our parents thought we were mad, but you know, things were different back then.
We’ve embraced living with joy and have developed the kind of friendships where my girlfriends, even though I can be a force of nature at times, can tell me things I don’t want to hear. And I’ll stick it out until I hear it, because I am stubbornly optimistic.
The message and the very loving interruption from my friends was that the one thing I wish I had done was to enjoy. It was simply to enjoy being with them. As I say this with tears streaming down my face out of gratitude, I’m still grateful for the courage it took for my friends to interrupt my forceful nature. When I decide on something, I can be quite stubborn. The tears stream down my face because they interrupted me soon enough that my experience of being at home was one of gratitude, creativity, and joy.
My next visit to my parents was very different. When I arrived, there was a lot of energy swirling around. People were cleaning, someone was cooking, and my mom and dad were both there but busy. It was early morning breakfast time, and there was a lot happening. The major thing that dominated the room was the big television, blasting the stock market or the day’s news. Gradually, we introduced Alexa, and the TV was turned off. The commotion calmed down, and my parents listened to music they loved. I was able to have conversations with them, laugh with them, and be with them in a way that was both internet-connected and a lot of fun.
I am so grateful.