Relationships

Our Story

“This is a story that I’ve never told, I got to get this off my chest and let it go. I need to take back the light inside you stole” – Demi Lovato, Warrior

I remember feeling angry about lots of things when I was younger, like, remember that time I screamed about what I thought was unfair? You probably thought I was just this annoying kid who was naive, childish, stubborn and maybe even petulant and disrespectful.

My opinion mattered. You should have been listening to what I was saying.    

I remember feeling sad about a lot of things when I was younger, like, remember that time I cried and cried about something you couldn’t wrap your head around? You probably were irritated by the whimpering juvenile who you thought maybe just wanted attention, was too needy and maybe even aggravating.

My feelings mattered. You should have been more sensitive to why I was sobbing.

I remember feeling confused about a lot of things when I was younger, like, remember that time I asked about something you didn’t want to talk about? You probably were upset by the embarrassing topic wanting nothing more than for me to stop asking, not-so-silently begging me to just ask anyone else or better yet no one at all, to figure out these things by myself.

My questions mattered. You should have been more sympathetic and understanding.

I remember feeling vulnerable about a lot of things when I was younger, like, remember the time I was too quiet and kept to myself listening to slow songs on repeat? You probably were relieved to have a break from me and thought I was just being a moody adolescent you were finally not being nagged by.

My emotions mattered. You should have been more sensitive and affected by my reclusiveness.

Today I am older and wiser. I now know as an adult that you probably didn’t have the answers and that my many states of being were just as difficult for you to see and hear as it was for me to feel. However, you could have been better, more supportive and caring, more attentive, stronger and more determined to clarify or bring joy and less pain into my life. You could have, but you acted selfishly and not the way a person in the position to protect, or love tenderly should. You took our relationship for granted. You understood only what you wanted at that time and I am strong enough, I am certain enough today of who I am to say, I am better than you. I listen beyond words so that I can truly hear what others are saying, even if its shouted on the top of their lungs. I am better than you. I am sympathetic to the tears of others understanding that their emotions are justified. I am better than you. I am composed when others are troubled and have questions about uncomfortable situations because I know they need someone to make sense of things that often get muddled. I am better than you. I am loving and considerate and reliable, I am kind to those who are heartbroken, or feeling distressed because their worries may be paralyzing and their anguish is sometimes palpable. I am better than you.

As we get older, you and I, I see you for who you really were. It’s okay to not have answers. It’s just not okay to be quiet when someone needs to hear your words of comfort.  I understand it is difficult to help someone when you yourself may not be completely whole. It’s just not okay to let a person suffer if you know they need something, anything, you could have found to offer. A touch, a hug, a smile, the number of someone else that person could turn to. When you offer nothing but your silence or worse your biting tongue or accusations, you lose. You lose the opportunity to make things right. You lose the respect you thought you deserved, simply because you were older than me.

“There’s a part of me I can’t get back, a little who girl grew up too fast, all it took was once, I’ll never be the same…
Nothing left that you can say, cause you were never gonna take the blame anyway”. – Demi Lovato, Warrior

When the world needs better people, I look to the heavens and beg G-d not to take the good ones too soon. Forgiveness usually comes easy for me but not this time and I feel mostly sad for you, because even though our paths mostly don’t cross, when they do, I see that you’re damaged. You’ve done no wrong in your mind. You take no blame for anything. You and I? We are not the same, because I am better than you.

A This Is Your Life Moment

Well, I’ll be…

To quote the group  Men At Work: “Last night I had the strangest dream” – only it wasn’t a dream. It really happened. As a guest at a wedding, I was overwhelmed by the sense that it was the makeup for the perfect prank and I was getting Punk’d. But the wedding was as real as the unique guest list that had people from my past and present converging all at the same place at the same time.

How often is it that in the same social environment you’ll have your:

Appliance Guy

Architect who designed your home

Children’s teachers

Co-workers

Student Adviser from the year abroad post-high school program

High school crush

Neighbors

Colleagues

Computer tech guy

2 bosses

ex-boss turned friend

lady that you were GOING to buy your wig from but didn’t in the end who the last time you saw was not married and watching our kids play on the same softball team together NOW married. – that one made me happy 🙂

It was really weird for me.  But weddings are great like that, I guess.

But more than it being like an episode of the TV show, This Is Your Life, it was a— this is your ‘life moment’.  To me there are a few ‘life moments’ that really get me all worked up, and while I was proud of myself for not crying, my chest swelled with emotion as I watched the bride and groom smiling at each other under the stars, then looking out to the sea of people invited to wish them well with the sun setting behind them. Watching the father of the bride glow with pride *and maybe trying to capture his own life moment* smiling from ear to ear, getting the crowd to clap along when the music got festive, and encouraging all those around him to dance. He even did cartwheels!

These are the things we forget when we go about our day-to-day lives. That glowing charge of lovey-dovey-ness because the kids got sick or we missed the bus, kind of gets lost until someone’s birthday or anniversary arises as a reminder – hey buddy – it’s time to buy roses and chocolates…or diamond bracelets or a fancy island weekend getaway. (I dream big). All I really wanted this year was a light that stayed on for the duration of the Sabbath that  I could cover without causing a fire – and I got it, though there is nothing really romantic or lovey-dovey about it. Perhaps next year I’ll ask for that weekend getaway ;).

So, while I continue working days until 5PM, making dinners and bathing kids, switching loads of laundry, ignoring the sink of dirty dishes, helping kids with their homework and making doctor appointments, I realize that these labors of love are my life moments. Sure, they’re not all glamorama, but they are mine. Watching my kindergarten cutie on his third day of school made my chest swell with pride as he skipped up the ramp and waved goodbye. Watching him sleep, as I did with all my babies, gives me those goosebumps and kissing their warm necks as I wake them from slumber gives me that same gushy feeling. I just need to remember these moments when I see the wrinkles form around my eyes and the grey creep out at my temples for before I know it, there will be my own child-bride that I watch move to the next stage of her life.

I just spent the last hour cuddling with, kissing and hugging my children before bedtime. Now go and do the same. Make a mental note to create a life moment for yourself and a warm and fuzzy memory for them.

She Knew It All

Well, that’s how she acted anyway. Ugh, every conversation had her sticking her nose where it didn’t belong and making definitive comments that sometimes didn’t make sense but said with enough confidence that others believed she might be right. I was so sick of it. I wondered if others felt the same way I did but it’s not like I’d indulge my desire by gossiping about her just to find out. She just wasn’t worth it. I didn’t want to ‘save’ her from herself, I didn’t care to be her friend, I didn’t want to be associated with her or mentioned even in the same sentence as her…it was THAT bad. But these thoughts made me feel like a bad person. Love your neighbor as you love yourself…problem was she always had good intentions…but she upset people with her actions and speech.

I was able to spend the majority of my time NOT in her presence so at least there was that. However, every single time she was around, she would loudly spew her opinions and make every one else feel small. I know the theory behind it. The Bully Syndrome, I call it. They have insecurities (though most don’t see it that way) and instead of feeling small themselves they pump themselves up by teasing others or acting overly confident and making sure their voice is heard.

Being a quieter person, I observe more than I indulge in a conversation. I say something when asked or when something witty or cute comes to mind. Sure I have insecurities just like the next person, but I never felt like I had anything to prove. I never felt like I needed to be louder than the next person, or make anyone feel small. I never understood why someone would need to do that to others.  Humans are complex characters though and none of us are wired the same. We are products of our environment and I didn’t know her history or her family life growing up so who was I to be making judgement calls on her? Perhaps she is damaged like most of us and never sought help. I’d like to think this is it.

Am I willing to help? No way, I am not touching that scorcher with a ten foot pole. She can be mean (without trying to be) and I am a sensitive girl, plus, like I said, I do not interact often enough with her to be warranted into inner circle status. Which is fine.

I generally get along with people and avoid confrontation so I’m not going to make a big stink. Even though she said something so hurtful to me in the last week, I am willing to move past it without dealing with it head on. I don’t think she even realizes that what she did was wrong, because she always thinks she is right.  Perhaps she uses this method as a defense mechanism. Perhaps her outrageous behavior is covering up her tortured  inner world. Or maybe she is just mean, I only took Psych 101 so I am no expert but what I do know? Negative comments and being a know-it-all is a turn off to others.

“There are spider webs in our unconscious minds. Every person alive today has his/her share of unrealized desires, fears, and latent projections”

So I am no better or worse than she is, perhaps, but I definitely handle my actions in a more appropriate fashion. I was raised in a blue collar family with a high importance on manners and proper etiquette and behavior. I know my place and when to speak and when to listen. She clearly doesn’t and I feel sad for her. But I also am upset that she gets away with it. She comes off as rude and often I feel others see her as a bully as well, the problem is no one is willing to step and try to ‘help’ her because we know we can only help someone if they ask for it.

Soon enough she may have so little friends that she may be forced to question her actions. Do I wish that on her? Absolutely not, but I’m also not going to risk my precious and sensitive heart and soul at her possible thrashings and verbal abuse.  I will pray for her that she learns her lesson and sees the error of her ways.

The one thing she didn’t know? How many people she hurt along the way.

The Fishy Kiss

Happiness comes in many variations. I have always been a big fan of the fishy kiss, it makes me happy.

Sure the Eskimo Kiss and the Butterfly Kiss are good options as far as fun kissing goes, however, I have been captured on film more often than not with the fishy-kiss-look. Here I was 18 years old and super classy. That’s my friend Robyn at her graduation, we were a year apart and she had been one of my closest friends in high-school. We did everything together, had a zillion sleepovers, had quadrillion private jokes, gave each other the case of the giggles and could make eye contact and know what the other person was thinking. We’d send each other friendship cards and she’d make me the best mishloach manot (a Jewish tradition of giving your neighbor 2 cooked foods with different blessings) around the holiday of  Purim. She’d fill a huge basket with jumbo sized chocolate bars and bags of chips and jumbo sized Mike and Ikes…it was heaven. Likewise, when she turned 21 I gave her a huge bottle of Absolute Vodka with lots of pretty ribbons, we got each other, almost always.

Over the years we kind of lost touch, reconnected for a bit because we lived in the same town as married couples and then had sporadic email correspondence once I moved countries.

As teenagers we would often go to her sister’s house for the weekend to ‘get away’ and we would always be bombarded by her nephews who were real cuties and we always fishy-kissed which would cause them to giggle. It works on my kids today, still. I love watching their faces try to make the fishy lips and when we finally connect – the smiles and giggling are contagious. Someone captured the oldest nephew giving me a fishy kiss at my wedding but it doesn’t look kosher so I’ll leave that one out. Of course, he’s like 20 today so that could embarrass him!

They were 4 sisters and I loved everything about their house. Even though one sister was married with children and not living at home I still felt like a part of their extended family. I was invited to all their affairs and I can still walk their old house in my mind. I can visualize the painted portraits of the girls as children that graced the wall of the dining room, I can remember the smell of the upstairs bathroom, I remember her younger sister coming home from a trip in LA where she saw the pilot show of FRIENDS, I remember hanging out in their pool, lounging on their deck, making tuna sandwiches, watching movies in her basement, everything! We even spent 2 summers in the Catskills together and “studied” abroad for 1/2 a semester. She forced me to get my driver’s licence when I was 20. We’d travel to work together and even once, the car broke down on the highway and we had to go on foot to search for a phone to call for help. She’d drive because I had no license and I’d throw quarters out my window over the top of the car to try to hit the toll booth basket. We made mix tapes and got our nails done. We did everything together!

Life has a funny way though of separating you from your good friends as you choose different paths. While she went back home and studied locally and married one my classmates, I went off to NYC to meet lots of new people, make new connections and branch out of my cocoon. Even though you move on its vital to hold on to old friendships, to remember who you were and how that helped you to become the person you are today.

As we grow older we see certain events though various lenses. While some of my friends have had parents that passed on or they themselves struggle with still finding out who they are and where they fit in, I feel my sensitivities are heightened to their emotional needs. I have always been an emotional person. I cried at Kleenex commercials…the fabric of our lives…and at movies…ET phone home…crying is nothing new to me. It does not embarrass me, I dunno’ maybe it should.

But today I cried, and not because I was at the dentist and she hurt my face, or because the bill for 10 minutes of work/pain was pretty steep but because I found this picture.

There is another fishy kiss picture with my dad that I came across and that made me think of Robyn as well. She just recently lost her father and now that both her parents are gone I feel emotionally overwhelmed for her. I  emailed her my sympathies and we’ve been in contact, but I wish I could just give her a big hug.

We often find solace in, and seek comfort in solid old friendships. I know I feel this way about her even though we never speak on the phone and we are probably really different as adults than we were as kids. It is my hope that my children are creating those bonds as they grow up.

We steer them in the right direction, we bathe them, we dress them, we try to make sure they look presentable so at least they look appealing enough to make friends. Once they are out on their own though, they are…out on their own. I watch my children as their friends come to pick them up for activities or to just hang out and I am pleased. Most of their choices are solid. There is the occasional argument, but that’s normal, especially with girls, and they make up quickly.

I just hope that one day my girl’s will find their Robyn. Someone dependable. Someone trustworthy. Someone they will laugh with so hard they may tinkle their panties (can happen to anyone!). Making this kind of friend is pivotal in your life. If you haven’t already, I say, what are you waiting for? Let the fun begin. You’ll thank me for it. I promise.