I struggled to write this post – not because of the subject matter, but because I was drawing a blank. I did what I always do when a topic hasn’t presented itself: I look at pictures. I take a lot of pictures. Someday I may even get a real camera instead of my phone!
At first I thought about memes.
I collect memes in my camera roll. (Don’t judge.) I found a lot that I had not yet deleted relating to friendship, family, and, of course, humor. My initial thought was to write about how memes capture a feeling in a moment and when friends have shared experiences – they can relate to them on a deeper level. A meme, among friends or family, can be a check in or lift in a fraction of a second. But, that led me to think about the importance of the follow-up conversation. Friendships aren’t built on memes – they take work, shared experiences, commitment. Memes don’t create engagement.
That made me think of building – building relationships and that brought me to today’s post.
Relationships: parent-child, spousal, friends, siblings – they all have their own unique feel. Some may even change over time or meld into some conglomerate of things. The only way to cement them is with time.
Time is tricky though, isn’t it? You turn around one day and realize you haven’t actually visited with your friend in a couple of years, and you don’t know how that could have happened. You wake up one morning and realize that the children you used to paint rocks with on the porch are about to leave for college. The parent you shared everything with is gone. The spouse who makes your heart skip a beat whenever he enters a room, now has grey peppered in with his black hair. Even the puppy or kitten you “just got” is suddenly older, limps a little and cataracts cloud its loving gaze.
I was walking with my “baby” girl, who is now taller than I am, the other day and she began reminiscing about “old times.” The outings at the park, the crafting, the trips and travels, the special times alone. At first, I felt a little sad. The last few years have been rough for my family – maybe even more than a few. It seems a lot has happened and though we always try to make the best of any given situation, it doesn’t mean the lows aren’t real. I looked at her and said, “I’m sorry I wasn’t able to do so many things with you lately, but I’ll get better, and we’ll do things again.” She laughed it off. I know. She told me I was “the best” and of course there would be more good times. I wasn’t satisfied, I needed her to know I was fighting for my brain, my health – fighting for our future. “I”m aging backward you know.” I confided, “I’m only getting younger.” She responded with an earnest smile, “I know; you’re only two now.” I had told them all so many times that my Mom loved turning 40 – she was proud of it – she earned it, and learned to do so much after that age that she began to repeat the old saying, “Life begins at 40.”
My “baby’s” faith in my recovery, despite the change in our circumstances the last few years, had not wavered. Our relationship wasn’t lost – only our circumstances had changed.
Ours was not a relationship built on memes, it was forged over potty training, and nightmares, late night fevers, and bike riding, ice skating, and camping, homework help and ocean swims, conversation and confidences, pool trips and picnics, rock painting and ornament making, cooking and cleaning, concrete mixing and painting, sewing doll clothes and having adventures, celebrations and loss, board games, and birthday parties, friendship make-ups and break-up, crushes, laundry, and pottery making.
I slid my arm around her and smiled. “I’m three,” I whispered, and gave her a squeeze.