Wednesday, August 26, 2009

At Summer's End

The signs are everywhere. 
Kids being dragged to the store for new sneakers, backpacks and lunch boxes. Teachers like me are finding their way kicking and screaming to their classrooms, to put away new supplies, dress up the bulletin boards, organize class lists and arrange classroom furniture. 
But the start of school is never so evident as it is in a college town. 
I see it every year as the students start to move in. They gather in front of the dorms with their parents, carrying boxes and milk crates, computers and printers. The streets are suddenly busier and the sidewalks are full of white ear phone wearing, backpack carrying kids heading to class.
This year I'm watching it all with a new perspective because next fall I'll be the one sending one off to college. 
We took two college tours with him this week. I love the feeling of walking around a college campus. The ivy covered brown stones oozed intelligence, the marble staircases gleamed with promise as we climb them to view a lecture hall.  Boston University is a "sexy" school, right in the middle of a bustling city with Fenway Park right around the corner. I know, I know not a reason to choose a school but...
We all followed our tour guide and listened intently to everything she had to say. Actually, not all listened intently. One miserable father who coincidentally was wearing a yankee cap on his head had nothing good to say about anything she showed us. I really think he was just unhappy to be standing in the shadows of THE PAHK.
Our tour ended and as we stood waiting for the train to our next tour destination, the kid looked at me and said,  "I don't think this school is conducive to my learning, it's just too busy." 
Good to know!
We arrived at our next destination. Another big Boston school, but this one felt different. I could actually picture him walking around this campus, going from class to class, living in that dorm room, eating in that dining hall and studying in that library. The more our guide showed us, the bigger the kid's smile got and I knew he was thinking the same thing I was.
I knew for sure when he jumped in the front of the line to rub the nose on the bronze Huskie for luck! "Please let me get in to this school", I heard him say.

I don't know where he'll end up, there are still more tours to take and more mascot noses to rub, but he'll find the right fit because he's a smart boy with a good head on his shoulders. 
So I'll watch him navigate through his senior year, I'll help him with the forms and the applications and I'll edit the essays and when it comes to carry the milk crates I'll do that too and I may even rub a mascot nose or two along the way.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

F is for Friend Part 2.

friend -noun A person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard.

A pretty basic definition but not really very warm or "friendly". I am really lucky to have the friends I do.
There are my friends like Brenda who I've know forever, or Little who seems to be my best buddy this summer, my mom, Medium and Big (although at 15 and 17, it's not always easy to like them!) and my husband, who is most certainly my best friend.
I have friends that I know because we met on a message board over 9 years ago. We were all pregnant at the same time, all due in August of 2000. Some of them I've met, some I haven't but we have been there to support one another through some pretty rough stuff and also there for each other to celebrate some huge accomplishments. Our "babies" are all turning nine this month and we have grown to be very close friends. They are amazing woman and I'm proud to know them.

I've had people ask me if it's really possible to have real friendships when you've never met the person you're talking to. I know it is possible because I have a more than a few of them. Friends who are moms of boys, and friends I can compete against in a nice "friendly" game of Scrabble.
I have friends that I can be silly with, I have friends that I can have deep conversations with and friends I can tell anything to because I can trust them implicitly.
I have friends that can provide a listening ear and just know when to say, "I understand" because that's all I really need.

I have my work friends that I miss during the summer months. We keep in touch to some extent, but never as much as we say we will. During the school year we are like next door neighbors, waving to each other from across the hall or having a quick conversation during an elevator ride, venting to each other when we've had a particularly rough day and sticking our heads into a classroom door just to smile and say "hello". Over the summer we're all busy doing our own thing which is the way it should be.

Some friendships are difficult and the ones worth keeping are worth the extra effort. But, when does it become too hard? When you're disappointed over and over? When that friend breaks a trust, or just plain makes it too hard to be a friend. I'm not talking about friends that just grow apart for one reason or another, but friends you have to let go of because the friendship stops being healthy. I wonder if people like that were truly friends to begin with?

So although the definition of friend certainly describes what a friend is, it doesn't describe how it feels to have a friend. I know that feeling and for me it comes in many different kinds of people.

I hope each and every one of them knows how important they are to me. I guess this was just my little way of telling them.

Friday, August 14, 2009

F is for Friend

My poor little blog has been sitting here idle for weeks now and day after summer day goes by. We've been out and about doing our summery things, Fenway Park, the beach, ice cream, you name it, we've done it, but none of it is "blog worthy". It's not to say that we haven't had a great summer, we have, but there is only so much you can write about the beach, crickets and sunsets.
I've been waiting for something over-the-top-exciting to happen so I'd have some good writing material.
But sometimes it's not the big things.
Last week I got a message from my friend Brenda. I've known her since high school. We were best friends then, and I can still honestly say she's one of my best friends now.
We don't see each other often, in fact, we rarely get together and the only reason for that is because we are both so busy with kids, work and life in general. She was going to be in the neighborhood and wondered if we should get together.
So we made plans for dinner.
The beauty of our friendship is, we can go for years without seeing each other but still pick up right where we left off. It's natural, it's comfortable and it's real.
We shared so many experiences back then, we had a lot of fun, we laughed a lot, and when we talk about those experiences now, we still laugh most of the time, but sometimes we just roll our eyes and wonder "what were we thinking?" Like the time my car got stuck while we were hiding the bottle of wine we were going to drink later that night, or when we stole the mailbox (who knew it was a federal offense?).
Here we are on our senior class trip to Florida. Those are some sweet wheels. I'm the one driving and I'm fairly certain she is NOT going to be happy with me for posting this little gem!

We had a nice dinner, good conversation, a walk out on the pier and then we parted ways, but with a promise to each other to make sure we do this again and soon.
I think we all have made promises like that in the past and life inevitably happens and gets in the way of the best intentions.
This time, I am going to do my best to keep that promise. "Keep your girlfriends close" I heard someone say recently. So although Brenda and I have a lot of memories from our past, I think it's time we make some new memories too.