Yesterday I posted about a random realization that I had about myself and how I came to see that my friendships or my desire for them have nearly always shaped the interests I invested myself in. So I made a list of "just for me" things that I could remember from time through the years. I did notice that I had stronger personal interests until I hit junior high. This is when the world around me went boy crazy. It also happens to be the same time that my Mawmaw passed away. She was probably the most influential person in my early years apart from my own parents. I think her death and the age-related insecurities of 7th/8th grade worked together to create a vacuum in my life that I desperately sought to fill with other people and interests. Odd how it can take 28 years to see these things. SO in no particular order:
- The dollhouse that I got when I was 3 or 4. It was paperboard, printed, and had plastic furniture. The roof on the bedroom lifted so there was better access to upstairs. I loved running my little Sesame Street finger puppets up and down the plastic staircase and making up stories of all the things they did there and rearranging the furniture to see where the sofa would fit best. I still love a dollhouse. But I don’t make up stories for the inhabitants much anymore. I do still love to rearrange the furniture, though!
- Cats or kittens over the years. My Mawmaw seemingly always had a cat and kittens. I also had a couple of special kitties over time. Mister, Boots, and Smokey come immediately to mind. They were dear friends to me, along with Daisy the dog. She and Mister were good friends and about the same size.
- Making things. Painting wooden shapes or gluing pompoms and felt together to make animals. Sewing doll clothes. Pottery. Cutting paper to make flowers. Pop-up cards and other little decorations for gifts. I loved doing things with my hands and making things. I still love to hand sew and embroider; I enjoy needle felting and watercolor painting. I should do these things more. I HAVE all.the.stuff. I also enjoyed sewing when I was young, but learned precious little skill till Home Ec. in the 8th grade. That may have been ONE thing that I liked “just because” at that age: sewing. I made quite a few of my clothes then. Now we enjoy making historical costumes.
- Stormy. A book about a boy and a dog and a duck camp. I loved this book. I wrote a report on it in 5th grade and have read it more times than I can count. My dad gave me the book but I loved it all on my own. No explanation! I also enjoyed Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys and Lewis Carroll…most reading I actually DID out of pure joy. Most of my friends didn’t really read—or at least didn’t talk about books that much. I envy my daughters and their bookish internet discussions. J I think NOT talking about what we were reading was simply a side effect of school over-saturization.
- Cooking. I began cooking fairly regularly for my family’s dinner when I turned 12 or so. I enjoyed learning to use the kitchen and recipe books. I never enjoyed cleaning up, however.(THAT still holds true for sure!)
- Linguistics. I took an introductory course in my senior year of college and fell in love with the science of how languages WORK. This proved to be life changing for me, as I wouldn’t have met my husband if I hadn’t fallen in love with that field of study first.
- My husband. Wow. He is mine, all mine, but he is also all GIFT. The way God orchestrated events to have each of us where we needed to be at the proper time still just makes me shake my head. I liked him just because I found out deep down inside me that I did. Nobody made me. Nobody even introduced us. J
- Homeschooling. I just wanted to. And we have. The worst year we’ve had with it was the one year where I listened to what others thought I should do and put my girls in school. It was horrible.
I find that when I tune in to the person God has made ME to be, I quickly find myself in a creative place where it is okay to enjoy the world and I can actually look around me with a happy gratitude. When I get stuck in a place of trying to be other-than-myself, I get sad too quickly. I lose the joy of being and doing for the sake of it; I become my own worst critic. I worry.
And that brings me to here, now. This blog. I started it because I wanted to. I needed a place to process and to document. A place to be ME and to be thankful.
And I am. The past year or so has been pretty tough in many ways with an underemployed husband who is in many ways trying to “find himself”—which really means find out WHO he is and BE himself--after years of doing what other people told him he should. I think such an identity crisis is hard on an entire family. I have been depressed and have withdrawn from even very close friends. I have been compelled to craft and make art, but have not allowed myself because there is so much else to do and money is so limited.
I have been in a growing process of realizing that gratitude isn’t always pretty. Sometimes it is all sunshine and a field of sunflowers with eyes open and a happy spin around…I love those times. But sometimes it is snotty-faced and gasping for air in huge ugly sobs because nothing really makes sense and YET. Yet. There is One who knows all things and who sets the future in its course and who directs my steps. My husband’s steps. My children’s steps.
So can I process the hopes AND fears here? Can I process the successes AND failures in this place? Can I manage to redeem the ugliness in some small way by pushing through the fear and the hurt feelings and the grief, even, and giving thanks in all things?
It isn’t all lovely, but He makes all things beautiful in His time.
I guess this wasn’t about friendship. But it’s what I needed today.
Thanks for listening, friend.