the lost friendship

I’ve learned recently that friendships can’t be forced.

It’s been a tough lesson.

A few years ago I spotted a potential friendship, and set to work developing it into an amazing bond that would last for years and years. By “work,” I mean investing. I really made this one a priority. I liked this young woman very much, and she seemed to like me. I could picture our families growing together, raising children together, being there for each other and experiencing life together. I tried to be the best friend I could possibly be – available, generous, kind, thoughtful, understanding, and endlessly supportive.

Well, it failed. Miserably.

Apparently, our personalities are different. Before this experience, I thought such a small difference could easily be overcome. Now, I’m not so sure. She and I can’t seem to communicate – it’s like we’re speaking different languages. I give a compliment, she takes offense. I speak with sincerity, she senses deception. I make conversation, she feels interrogated. Somehow, my good motives appear bad.

Why is this??

I wish I knew. The experience has shaken me. Even now, months down the road, my mind spins with hurt and bewilderment when I try to pinpoint what went wrong. How could I fail at something like friendship – it seems so simple and straightforward. I’m surprised how sad I feel about the situation. Like any breakup, the repercussions of rejection are painful.

Life goes on, and I try to be mature about everything – happy and excited for my pseudo-friend’s family, enthusiastically agreeing when others describe how wonderful she is, and maintaining a polite social media presence. Meanwhile, Gregory and I have stepped back, taken a deep breath, and focused our energy on friendships that will build us up, not tear us down. Still, a tiny part of me mourns for the friendship that never was.

=)

“…Everything that happens to us in life is the product of {God’s} will and personal intervention in our lives…”
-Rabbi Shalom Arush

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socialization or the lack thereof

We were recently in a group setting which included seven homeschoolers and seven public schoolers. I’m sure everyone’s heard the stereotype about how poor unsocialized homeschooled kids can’t possibly have a conversation with adults. And yet, during this particular gathering, the public schooled kids – no doubt popular and confident in their own tiny classroom settings – sat silently in a row, while the children educated at home conversed easily with the adults present. Interestingly, when the “normal” kids were asked questions, they responded with monosyllables, making us wonder if they didn’t possess even the most basic of conversational skills, or were simply bored with the company. Further, they responded best to the adults they already knew, but were unable to ask even one polite question to the adults they were meeting for the first time. And – one more fun fact – the one who had the best interaction in this setting was a foreigner, who only spent the last few years in our country!

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like mother like daughter

In honor of my mother’s birthday this week, I’ve compiled a list of ten ways I have become a small version of her.

  1. My favorite place to store things is the trash can.
  2. I can’t walk into the kitchen without picking up the sponge.
  3. I tell Sophia, “You have to make your own fun.”
  4. My house is filled with soft neutrals.
  5. I drive a Honda Odyssey.*
  6. Napping has become impossible, since the minute I lay down a giant to-do list pops into my head and the only option is to get up and get back to work.
  7. I have become very picky about the quality of food I eat.
  8. My toddler is in training to take over many of the household chores. Like, next year.
  9. Boo-boos are met with “Is it bleeding? No? You’re fine.”
  10. I now shop at Talbots and other stores that are friendly to women who are Not Teenagers Anymore.

=)

*In my mind, I used to poke fun at my mother’s driving. She’s known for going a few miles below the speed limit, and never swerving from the right lane even if she ends up behind an old pickup going 35. I now find myself doing the same thing. How could I not?? For one thing, I didn’t take into account that driving a minivan is a whole lot different than zipping around in a Beetle. And the children’s safety is in my hands! So I now also stick to the right lane and let the traffic gallop by.

being challenged

It was only a few weeks ago that our angelic, well-behaved toddler “tested the waters” of defiance by looking at me and saying NO when I asked her to put something away. She stated her point more strongly by tossing the toy on the ground and moving several steps away. I remember the moment clearly because I got a rush of adrenaline. “I have to win this battle!” I thought to myself, shocked at the possibility of losing control of my daughter already, picturing a giant F next to my name as a parent.

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#shabbattable

We have a new tradition for Friday nights – posting a Shabbat table picture on Instagram. I started doing this around the beginning of the year {here’s my first one}, after realizing how much more motivated I am to spend a little extra time + effort on our table if I’m going to share it with friends! And that’s kind of the point of Shabbat anyway… making it special, better than the rest of the week. I realized I needed a push in the right direction when I caught myself using paper napkins one week, because our cloth ones were just “too much trouble” to use! The Sabbath is like a queen among the other days. She deserves a pretty tablecloth, or china dishes, or fresh flowers, or a dessert, or something else that sets her apart. If you have the Instagram app, you can view past photos by searching for the hashtag “shabbattable.” Feel free to add your own!
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a weekly interlude

We are commanded to rest one day out of seven. For men, this is especially significant. My husband works hard the other six days in the week, either at his office or around the house, so the seventh day is distinctive for him.

I was thinking about my “work” the other day. I work at home. Not from home, but at home. This house, and the little people who live here, are my work. As a wife and mother, it’s hard for me to completely set aside the seventh day as a day of rest when many of my responsibilities are no different – changing a dozen diapers, putting food on the table for my family, cleaning up meals, occupying the children, getting out toys/putting away toys… sometimes it doesn’t seem restful, it seems like the daily grind.

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