Thursday, February 6, 2014

Where are you?

Cue the Sarah McLachlan music.

It’s hard to lose a friend.  Half a friend is “end,” or maybe just “fri;” either way, meh.  When you grow up with someone, spend your days discussing dolls, then boys, then adulthood, you always assume they’ll be around forever to see everything happen. 

But things happen.  People happen.  Circumstances happen.

Sometimes it’s hard to see the people you love fall in love because it feels like they don’t need you anymore.  Your best isn’t good enough anymore, and although you’re happy for them (eventually), your role as the shoulder, the support, the one who laughs at their jokes, the one who tells them to buy this but don’t buy that, the one who will get up at 5:00am to go to the gym with them when you’d rather sleep, and on and on, isn’t necessary anymore.  You hope that although they have a new life that they’ll remember that you’re the one who was there to support them through everything they are trying to move past.  So how do you support someone who is your best friend when now it’s at a distance?  It’s rough. 

I feel let down because I’ve had a boyfriend, then a fiancé, then a husband, and I feel like I never “disappeared” no matter what my love life was doing.  I’m not perfect and I’m guessing I wasn’t the best, best friend there ever was, but I fought the good fight and I did what I thought it was to be there for someone.  I want to support and love and encourage,e but I want to be called, responded to, encouraged, uplifted. 

So now I’m a one-sided friendship.  I want to be a best friend.  I want to laugh and snort at things that only she understands.  I want to be told that I shouldn’t buy another polo shirt because I have ten in my closet and it’s “time to try something new.”  I love my husband and he is truly my best friend, but I need my best girlfriend to go look at that gaudy jewelry that I’ll never be able to afford, to sit over a latte for hours and vent, to secretly gush over horribly cheesy movies we pretend to hate.  I miss that.

I thought I’d have someone there for me at my side when I had my kids.  I thought she’d be there to hold my hand along with my husband when I gave birth.  I thought she’d love my kids almost as much as I do.  But they hardly even know her.  And when our worlds collide and we actually do see each other, I feel warm, friendly, overjoyed, talkative.  She feels awkward, shifty, with little eye contact.  I don’t understand.  Is it me?  Is it my life?  Is it my kids?  Is it my faith?  Our lives are different, but aren’t we the same on some level?  Aren’t we still the women who grew up, moved away, grew up again, and spend day after day talking about who knows what, crying over our random miseries, and eating a thousand California rolls?  Where are you?

I often think I can move on.  My life is happy, my husband is loving, my kids are joyful and kind and we’re so proud of them, and I do have a handful of really good friends.  But then I get to thinking and I know I still have a hole where something is missing.  My friend, my confidant, my gossip buddy, my arachnophobic pink-wine loving bestie who called me to kill bugs, to cry, to laugh, when proud, when ashamed, and was the only one to ever get me to wear makeup.  Well, I’m back in polo shirts and no makeup, so where are you?!

You’ll never read this.  My fear of confrontation hopes you won’t.  But things have to get worse before they get better.  Someone once told me it’s better to fight than to be indifferent, because when you’re fighting you still care.  I don’t think we ever had a fight that led to this distance, this silence, this strange avoidance.  It’s just like nothing ever happened but life pushed us apart.  I’ll be honest, it sucks.   

I just hope that one day if you need me as a friend again you’ll see that I never gave up.  I still called, I still texted, I still messaged you on Facebook; I never gave up asking to go do things, get coffee, go out to eat, go to the movies, anything.  And I won’t.  I may be beating a dead horse, but I’ll never give up trying to claw my way back to being your best friend again.  We’re not done having kids and I hope you can be around to see at least one of them come into this world and be like an auntie to them.  I’m going to keep trying, and I apologize if it’s obnoxious.  To me, it’s worth it. 

Turn the sappy music off, please.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

12th Man, Woman, and Babies

To start...ahem...go Seahawks. 

The Super Bowl is that special day when we eat what we want, watch TV for hours with friends, drink early in the day, and go to bed with a bottle of Tums. Everyone is a football fan, if only for a few hours.  A few bets are tossed back and forth, mainly money, but a few gentlemen's bets, some "slave-for-a-day" plans, and so on. 

This year was quite different for our "big small town" of Seattle.  We felt that our beloved Seahawks finally got what they deserved, were given credit for their abilities, and were shown love for exactly who they are--a team full of integrity.  Sure, most other cities felt the same about their teams, but this year was our year.  Everyone said we would lose (well, everyone except the porcupine on YouTube who picked us right away).  Whether it was by 3 points or a complete blowout, I'm not sure we were picked by anyone (except us, that is) to win.  Sorry, boys.


Super Bowl Sunday
As a family, we know the Seahawks are rather good.  They win, win again, and just keep on winning.  They'll lose a game every so often, just to keep it interesting, but then they go back to winning. But for some reason we didn't really think about the idea of them entering the Super Bowl when we decided to tighten our belts and cancel our cable.  Comcast was charging us up the wazoo each month and we couldn't stand it anymore.  What was once a $65 bill, turned to $75, then $85, and we were fed up.  We canceled our service, went with CenturyLink (it was a sign!) and decided to survive on Netflix and Hulu.  We may have counted our chickens a little too soon.

Come Super Bowl Sunday we had very little in the way of plans.  Joey had to work,so I took the kids to church and we did our best to reverently pray for a Seahawks win.  There were a few rowdy greeters dressed head-to-foot in Broncos gear, but I'm guessing they're a little quieter these days.  Charlotte spent her first Sunday in Sunday school and lasted the whole time without me getting paged.  She told me they learned about "Bad people throwing rocks.  Then Jesus came and Santa Claus, too."  I'm guessing there were some bearded characters in the story... 

Anyhoo, after church we headed home and I put the kids down for a nap.  We had no plans, no high-calorie snacks, and I was just thankful for the next two hours to put my feet up a little.  I popped on some Real Housewives while the rest of the world flipped on the game, and then I began to Google the Seahawks game.  Refresh, refresh, refresh.  To be honest, I was incredibly interested in watching, but really didn't have any way without cable.  Refresh, refresh, refresh.  This will suffice, I thought.  Nope.  12 seconds in we had already scored.  Then came more, and more, and more.  I have to see this! Wouldn’t you know that my kids kept on sleeping!

I finally heard Charlotte bumping around and I ran upstairs with two pairs of little shoes, their coats, and flew downstairs with both kids, half asleep. We jumped in the car and headed straight for Safeway.  What's a better place to be?  They have a big flat screen TV with soft chairs, tables, a fireplace, and we're SURROUNDED by food!  We got there just as halftime began and I settled the kids down with some applesauce and a corndog for Charlotte.

And there we stayed for the entirety of that incredible game.  We bumped shoulders with people we had never met before--some homeless, some war vets, some families, and some of Safeway's employees--today we were all friends.  Joey met up with us after work (he works at another Safeway up in Woodinville), and we were all able to watch the last quarter as a family, surrounded by tasty junk food, loud cheering, and happy babies. 

We drove home to the cheers and fireworks of our neighborhood.  I don't know a single person who drove by or was standing on the sidewalk, but we all waved, honked, laughed, and metaphorically raised our glasses.  It's been a long time since we lived in a small town, but Super Bowl Sunday felt much like "home."

Fast Forward

Victory Parade
My mom once told me that if history is being made, for better or for worse, do your best to be a part of it.  At the time it was the WTO rally, but today it was the victory homecoming parade for our champion Seahawks.  We made a plan to ride the 41 bus down to Westlake Center, which we knew would be a cold morning. The temps dipped into the low 20s with a much lower wind chill shooting down 4th Avenue.  We bundled the kids up in pajamas, moccasins, fleece pants, sweatshirts, parkas, mittens, hats, blankets, until they were layered with in an inch of their lives.  We left the house at 9:45am with the stroller, baby backpack, diaper bag, lunches, and bus money, and walked out to the bus stop.  It was packed.  Normally our stop is basically abandoned, being one stop before the popular Hubbard Homestead Park stop.  Not today.  We stood among about 30 other passengers, waiting and waiting.  Finally the 41 popped over the hill; as it drew nearer we could see it was completely full.  It didn't even stop.  We waited again.  Then came another 41.  Packed again.  There would be no bus ride today.  Sorry, Charlotte.

We grabbed the kids and headed back to the house.  Joey figured driving would be our best shot, so we packed everything in the car and headed downtown.  He took Roosevelt all the way down to Eastlake, avoiding the traffic, so we thought we had it made.  Um, no.  Seattle all at once looked like an anthill.  Crowds poured toward the center of town.  We still managed to get around for a while via the smaller streets, but as we crept towards Westlake Center, it became clear that parking wouldn't be easy.  Life stopped as we inched under the Monorail and the crowds enveloped our car.  I began to feel claustrophobic, like I was in some sort of car wash.  There were thousands and thousands of people filling the streets all around us.  Bicycles squeezed past the motionless vehicles, stuck bumper-to-bumper.  I could hear honking, I could hear the music as the parade began, and all of a sudden I wasn't sure how much I wanted to be there.  Maybe I'm not a fan after all, I thought.  No, that wasn't it.  I'm certainly a fan, but this was beyond pushing it as far as my comfort zone is concerned. 

Joey was determined to keep trying.  We went up and down every street, in alleys, backed up, inched forward, and sat in the jam watching the 12th Man flag fly through the sky back and forth, back and forth.  On a positive note, we had food, we were warm, and it was sort of nice just to have to sit for a while and be comfortable.  And the kids were golden.  Max slept through everything and Charlotte read her books and sang along with the radio.  She told me later she didn't like all the people, and the parade music "make worried me."  But at the time, she said nothing and kept herself happy and busy.

At some point things began to look grim.  Not sure if it was because it was now 12 o'clock (an hour after the parade began), or because we were now in "Little Saigon," but it looked as though we had lost this battle.  On the side of adventure, however, we had seen every inch of downtown Seattle from our home in Northgate (okay, not exactly downtown) to the International District, to the Rainier District, and beyond.  We had driven in and out of every parking garage, hospital, apartment complex, etc., that we could find, and came to the conclusion that there is just not enough parking in downtown Seattle for 750,000 people.  Who knew? 

We scooted back to the freeway, which was nice and open, and took the kids up to Whole Foods for a quiet, easy lunch.  There were no crowds, driving was a breeze, and everyone was home by naptime.  To be honest, I think I preferred this.

In Conclusion
You may think we were nuts for trying to get to the parade today.  And maybe you're right.  I was certainly naïve if nothing else.  I figured that because it was a weekday and most people were at work, that the parade wouldn't be that crowded.  Yep, I know--stupid.  But it was fun anyway.  We didn't get to see the parade, but we saw nearly a million fans walking by.  There was a hum of excitement and sheer joy in the air, and nobody seemed to mind the cold weather.  Besides, I don’t think anyone around here minds the cold when the sun is out.  And it was gorgeous today.  So I'm glad we went.  I'm glad we drove around, burned gas, got stuck, backed out of driveways, and skidded in and out of traffic.  We spent that time together as a family--no one was at work, no one was sick, no one was sleeping, no one was crying--we had all that time to just talk about whatever was on our mind (mainly the Seahawks).

So that is our 12th Man experience.  Maybe we live that part of our life on the sidelines, but we'll always take the bull by the horns and make the best with what we have.