As I approach the place in my mothering life where my children need me differently than they did in early childhood, there is this slow but gradual sense that I need something bigger than my family to keep me afloat. It doesn’t come in a wave or as an epiphany, but rather a nudging along, a nagging feeling sometimes. It’s been really present since I’ve passed the 40 mark. And, I realize that what satiates the feeling is time with friends.
In midlife, I am acutely aware that I have all kinds of friends: childhood friends, high school friends, college friends, colleagues. After you’ve dipped a toe into a few worlds and you know a little more who you are even though you still wonder where you are headed there is the special friendship that grows. In the years after you have done all that formative work, as a momma, you make momma friends. There are no superimposed limits like graduation, on these friendships. They are allowed to grow, unfettered by a deadline.
What I know about growing up in middle age is that I need these friends. I need them at dinner time, to send texts to, with silly comments about the day that I don’t need to censor. I need these friends to go out to dinner with and laugh and dance and stay out too late, only to text again the next evening about how tired I am. I need these friends to talk about my children with, to work out a career path with, to brainstorm a hairbrained idea with. I need these friends to normalize me, my heartaches, my fears and my loves. I need these friends to text a photo to when I’m shopping (most often at 11 PM online) for a second opinion. My husband, by all accounts the best of all my friends, will always say we don’t need it. This is why these friendships are paramount.
So, in the last few years, I’m making time to be with my friends. And it is paying off in spades. I still have the same fears, I still struggle with the narcissism of wondering if I have already done all my best work before 40...the midway point, and I still dance with imbalance in all parts of my day to day life. But, the time when I am allowed to be saturated by these friendships means the world. It allows me to come home to my family, the one I have chosen, and feel like I have myself to give to them.
I count Amanda as one of the dearest of these friends. I have, on more than one occasion, roped her into helping me go off on an adventure. The first time, I convinced her to live at my house with her family for 3 weeks and farm sit while my family traveled to Nicaragua. The second time, with a farm of her own, I talked her into letting me drop off my dairy cow for 2 months so we could go to Ecuador. We have talked about travel adventures for so long and I am beyond thrilled she has made the leap to take one of her own. Adventures, like friendships, are enriching beyond compare. I would have to say blog-sitting over farm-sitting or cow-sitting…I do believe I got the long straw. Maybe I’ll offer to buy drinks on our next night out. Of course that will be awhile as she will have certainly used up her nights out through April :) (Just looking out for Steve here).
I’ll be by to share a bit of spring at Broadturn Farm in the coming weeks. I'm really looking forward to showing you all a little of the mud season goodness at our farm. I’m dubbing it 50 Shades of Brown.