As most people in my inner circle know, I’ve hit the age where I am now officially qualified to wear pearls…according to Audrey Hepburn. I use this reference a lot since the first time I watched Breakfast at Tiffany’s, I learned that I was prematurely wearing pearls, my beloved birthstone. I was in my early third decade of life and I thought, “What? Why did no one tell me that I’m already acting like an old woman? Forty is FOREVER from now.” Yeah, well, it really wasn’t as far away as I’d expected.
I used to think that forty was super old and I never imagined what life would be like at this age because it just didn’t feel like I’d ever get there. But here I am and I realize that I’m not really that geriatric at all. Come to think of it, if all goes well, I’m not even at the halfway point of my life. How’s that for a fun thought!
I have a longtime friend whom I am completely, totally, and utterly fascinated with. She has a beautiful number of years under her belt and yet she is still as spunky and vivacious as some millennials. I’ve watched her starting from the tender years of my adolescence (with a teensy break in my teenage years until my early 20’s) and now more than ever, I am inspired by her love of life and willingness to pour into others. I want to pay tribute to this person since she has been such powerful source of strength and inspiration to my wayward heart, but also to bring a topic to the table which I feel has been somewhat neglected in recent years.
First, I need to transition into an experience I had the other day while shopping for Sasha’s 10th birthday gifts. (Ach! All the feels over my first daughter turning double-digits!) Sasha was on an outing with her BFFFFFF, Abby, at a local no-kill shelter and I thought, “Well, Ima gonna run to TJMaxx to see if I can find a pair of riding-style boots for my birthday girl.” So, Ashley, Caleb, and I made a bee-line to the store. The three of us were on a temporary bargain-high as I’d found a slew of American Girl brand gifts for Sasha that have been on her wish list for months now at a fraction of the online cost. Woohoo!!! And yes, I totally did pick up a toy for Ashley and told her it’s part of her Christmas gifts so, yes, she will wait to unwrap said toy and she is expected to act surprised upon opening said gift. YES, I DID!
Back to the story, I look up to see a dear friend of mine walking down the isle, looking beautiful as usual. As Jessica and I greeted each other with a hug, I see a sweet young lady right behind her. Penny is not Jessica’s daughter but the daughter of another mutual friend. In conversation, Jessica said that she and Penny were on a girl date and DID MY HEART JUST ABOUT MELT AT THAT MOMENT! Jessica has such a compassionate, loving, and humble heart. She doesn’t boast about her many talents and beauties but lives it out, even though she is the first to acknowledge that she is not perfect. I thought, “What a sweet moment I just caught…a woman taking time out of her life to speak and breathe life into a young woman in training.” And you know what else struck me? I know Penny’s Mom well and was so inspired at her willingness to allow another woman to speak into her child’s life. I wish both instances were more common in our current society.
I love listening to older generations talk about the good ol’ days…helping Mom bring in the laundry from the drying line outside, going to Grandma’s to can homemade applesauce to last through the winter months, or sitting on folding chairs on the driveway with a huge glass of sun-brewed iced-tea in hand while the kids rode their bikes around the cul-de-sac. That might not be everyone’s cuppa Starbucks but to me, it’s more than just the old fashioned way of life that’s appealing to me. It’s the practice of older generations taking time to teach us youngins a way of life. Every time I hear a person complaining about these millennials, how they’re so lazy and clueless, I can’t help but to feel a pang of guilt as I reflect on how much time I’ve taken out of my every day activities to SHOW these millennials HOW to live. Most of my life, I’ve considered myself too busy, too tired, too (fill in the blank) to teach a kid how to thread a needle to fix the rip in their pants, how to pick lemons off the tree and make homemade lemonade, how to resolve conflict with a friend, or how to just be with an adult without feeling condescension or defensive.
Seeing Jessica and Penny also made me want to reflect on my own feelings as a Mom…ANOTHER WOMAN pouring into MY girl???? NO.THANK.YOU! Or at least, that’s my jealousy speaking. But let’s consider this for a moment: does that undermine my position as her one and only Mom? Nope. I pray that as I mature in motherhood, I would be humble enough to realize that I am limited in my knowledge so I should welcome and be willing to learn what another might have to offer. Now ladies, I am certainly not saying to carelessly throw your children at another adult in hopes that they will do your responsibility of bringing your children up in the way they should go; however, I can see the benefits of setting our pride aside and welcoming life-giving relationships and experiences to our children that we might not be able to provide.
After all my
reasons excuses to why I haven’t/don’t currently make myself available to reach out to another, I wonder if there is really something I have to offer anyone else? I mean, really??? I’m nothing special. Let’s break this down and make this a little less complicated…remember my post on lightening up? You don’t have to be a superhero to just be there with another. I doubt that Jessica had a monologue prepared for Penny. She was just being…Jessica. She’s it and yet she’s so much at the same time. Not perfect. No particular agenda in mind. Just being there, grabbing breakfast, walking around a store, chit-chatting…JUST SHOWING UP. Sometimes that’s all that’s necessary.
The first few times I was around Doris, I can’t remember saying much of anything to her. I was about 12-years-old. She would smile at me. Her husband, Richard, played my dad in a skit for a Christmas program that year. At the time, she wasn’t a woman of many word but she was…there. After she moved away, we wrote letters. She would talk about ordinary stuff. Even after my letters became more infrequent, she would still write to me and took the time out of her schedule to make me a beautiful quilt. When I was troubled in my divorce and young motherhood, she was still there. Fast forward 15 years into a new marriage and three children later, she is still here with me and I’m still honored and blessed by her presence.
What if it’s just that simple? What if we are ENOUGH and that might not look spectacular?
I want to know how you feel on this topic. Have you had a mentor or a person of influence in your life? Have you ever felt the tug on your heart to mentor and did you follow through? If not, what held you back? If so, what was your experience? I’d love to hear all about it!
As usual, stay safe and God bless!