Carry Over Tuesday – “This is the life I wanted, and I could never see”

The ring of the telephone made Jane gasp and stumble in her excitement: “what should I say, what should I say?” because of course, “hello” was just so banal and at what pitch? He would know, wouldn’t he, that she had waited for him to call…. Her heart beat rapidly, she felt nauseous and couldn’t eat a thing.  The butterflies in her stomach had turned into tarantulas; this happened every single time she waited for him to call, and she never knew when it would be. She finally ran to the phone: “Hello?” she sputtered. “Janie, Hi, it’s Steve” he said casually. “Oh, HI,” she said, drawing out the whole one syllable, all forms of pretense gone. Jim chuckled, somewhat unkindly, on the other end. “Say, he said casually, are you interested in going to dinner and a movie Saturday night?” She tried to sound cool but it wasn’t working, this was like a game they played: “sure” she said, what time?” He said”I’ll pick you up at seven.” “Okay” she swooned, see you at seven, bye.”

Jane spent the next two hours calling her friends from her pretty pink princess telephone and discussing what she should wear, what she should say, do, how she should act. She was in love with him and even though her friends were always warning her that he was a “ladies man” she was sure he was the man for her. She even asked her friends to sleep over Friday night so they could discuss her strategy and she could model some outfits for them. All of them were still dating their high school boyfriends but Jane had broken up with her high school boyfriend. She had outgrown him, she didn’t want to keep dating the same person she had gone out with in high school. She was too mature for that.

It was Saturday, the girls had slept over and they all had decided that Jane should wear her black skirt, black stockings and flat black boots. She would wear the striped black and green shirt and she had borrowed big, gold earrings from her best friend Stacey. Jane didn’t realize that she made her friends do this each time they went on a date. She felt great, excited and yes, a nervous wreck. She was always nervous before a date with Steve.

She looked at the clock, it was ten minutes to seven, he would be here any minute. She couldn’t wait, she knew he was the guy for her. He was a tiny bit unreliable with time but no one was perfect. She paced up and down the same steps to the hallway and back, it must have been at least fifty times, maybe a hundred.  Finally, she sat back down in the living room, on the beige couch and waited some more. She looked at her watch, it was already 7:20, ‘traffic,’ she thought. ‘He’ll be here in a second, what did they expect on a Saturday night in the city?’ It was now 8:50 with no word from him; she started to worry: ‘something must have happened to him, a car accident, something really bad.’

At 11:15 the phone rang and it was him. She was so worried and so relieved to hear his voice that nothing else mattered, he was alive and safe. “Sorry babe, things came up but I’m coming over now.” “Yes!” she said enthusiastically, “Come now.” Once he arrived, they were like lovebirds, kissing and touching each other on the couch, ravenous for each other. He explained nothing and she asked him nothing, all that mattered to her was that they were finally together.

In the morning, he went home and she kissed him good-bye. She was on an absolute high, she had gone from being depressed, worried and upset before he arrived  and after, she was swooning, high with his love, passion and his undivided attention. This is the life she craved and wanted, the great highs that she only experienced when she was with him, her girlfriends didn’t understand this at all. They all called her to ask her how the date went and when she tried to explain to them exactly what happened, they individually hung up in disgust. “This is NOT how a man treats a woman, her best friend said.” Her friend Rachel said:”You let him in after all that time and no excuses? That’s unacceptable.” Jane tried to explain but they cut her off, “There are no excuses her “smart” friend Paula told her, except the entire dissemination of his family ” She didn’t get it either. ‘What did she know, she didn’t even HAVE a boyfriend.’

She told them each pointedly the next time they all got together: “This is the life I want, this is the life I choose; I could never see myself living in your droll, miserable lives with the same person and the same boring things you have done during high school and will do the rest of your lives.” Janet continued to go out with Steve, craving excitement, accepting the manic highs and the very lows of their unsteady relationship.

Jane never heard from her high school friends again; Jane went out with Steve for another two years, off and on, until one day he just never showed up again. She never heard from him or saw him. She kept dating the same kind of guy, unavailable, unobtainable guys that were a thrill to date, but they never hung around for very long. Jane thought, ‘you can’t have everything’ and surprisingly, in a way, her old girlfriends said the same thing and they both were right.

Losing Touch with Old Friends


Image by carlosluz via Flickr

To Me, A Friend Is A Friend.

I am the type of person that WANTS TO KEEP in touch with old friends but I have been hurt by others who think geography and proximity are the only reasons to maintain a friendship. I had a “friend” named “Becky” when our children were two years old and best friends. Our family decided to move to be closer to my aging parents and our good friendship withered away, no, actually it slammed shut. When I asked her what happened, because we had been so close, she told me face to face that the reason she didn’t keep in touch with me was “You know, out of sight, out of mind.” I was crushed at the time, but this was fifteen years ago.

I also remember my three year old daughter wanting to talk to your daughter and when I called for her you told me that “Little Ruthie” as we called her, was watching television and did not want to come to the phone. Wow. If that had been my daughter I would have taught her not to be rude and to come to the phone and say hello and then go back to television watching. It’s called manners. Like mother, like daughter??!! You can hurt me all you want, I can take it even though I don’t like it….but hurt my child? Unforgivable.

I have realized since then that many people are like that and I have even prepared myself for it. I wish I was one of those people who could drop a friend at the mere mention of a move, it hurts less to be like that. But, no, I am still the one trying to keep up a friendship, even if you don’t speak often, for the friendship that was; I think there is merit in that. As I get older though, my expectations have been greatly lowered and while it is not my style, I do understand that many people act this way. I’m just trying not to be one of them.

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Tearjerker Books

A box of tissues

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This book has brought me to tears each time I read it. The first time I read it was the worst; my son was around twelve and he took the book away from me and hid it somewhere in the house because he didn’t want to see me cry. It’s worth the cry, trust me.

Talk Before Sleep by Elizabeth Berg

An amazing story of a woman and her great friends. Bring tissues.

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The Start Of Good-Bye

In two weeks my son will graduate from High School and head to his summer job, after that he will be going to college. This is harder than I thought it would be. It’s also brand new and I’ve never been too good with change.

Simple yet elegant prom corsage

I literally want to sink my head into my folded arms on my cheerful, flowery bedspread and cry. I want to cry loud and hard enough to erase the pain of change and sadness, new beginnings and endings. I want to cry for all the graduating seniors that will say good-bye in two weeks to their life-long friends, their girlfriends, their boyfriends, their parents, siblings, dogs, pets. I want to cry for me, I want to break down in unwavering sobs because it feels like I am losing my son to the future and I know that things will never be the same. Already, the “Seniors” have changed you can see it on their faces. Next year, my baby, my daughter will graduate High School as well.

I am a fluctuating emotional mess, happy, sad, crying, excited and miserable.  It is after prom and before graduation; it is the time in-between. The Pre-Prom party was at my son’s girlfriend’s lovely home. For me, it was like a Hollywood set, the girls with their glowing, shiny faces and beaming smiles, the sun streaming down on the back lawn highlighting their hair. Girls in long dresses of all colors: fuchsia, beige, royal blue, gold, gorgeous girls, each one of them, with the light in their eyes dancing, their faces sparkling. Their wrists adorned by delicate  wrist corsages awkwardly put on by their dates. I have known some of these girls since they were four. The young men in their tuxedos, stand tall and proud, handsome and mature. It felt like the tuxedo added years of wisdom and maturity to them.They stood brave and beaming, handsome and charming, strong and proud, very proud. Each one had a boutonniere shakily attached by nervous girls with manicured fingers.  My son posed willingly with the three best friends he has grown up with, solid friends, forever friends. He posed with his girlfriend, he posed with his family. This was a boy who refused pictures taken of him since he was nine.

These were not boys and girls anymore, here stood young men and young women going off very soon, to follow their dreams. Even though as parents we try to be prepared for the good-byes, it still hurts us. Like pieces of our heart literally being chipped off never to be repaired exactly like it was before. Our hearts still work but differently. With the young men and women’s new-found freedom, so too, comes pain. As a parent, not being able to prevent that pain is horrible yet I know, being a good parent means just that, letting them go solve their own problems, make their own mistakes.

As a mom, I am on an emotional roller coaster. Am I grieving beforehand like I usually do? Merely picturing graduation makes me wince. When my son actually leaves for college, I hope I will be just fine but anticipation is truly my downfall. I look at the photos I took of Pre-Prom over and over as if I will learn something new each time. Yet, every time I see the photos I see the same thing, utter, unblemished joy and happiness. As a parent, I wish that these things would continue but I know in a mere two weeks a lot of that joy will become heartache. It doesn’t seem fair does it? That is what growing up is all about, I’m afraid, there are always trade-offs.

These youngsters have precious little time to say good-bye to all their friends, girlfriends, boyfriends, best friends. I don’t envy their losses but I am happy for their new adventures. Tonight, on a dark and windy evening, I dread my own loss. My son is one of the nicest people I know, he is moving on and I will miss him. I love this boy of mine and in addition, I truly like him. Follow your dreams, first-born, the world will be a better place with you in it. That, I know, for certain. We will always be here for you, will always love you and support you unconditionally, when you are ready to leave, place that in your heart forever.