Wednesday, November 23, 2011

And Then Your Mom Goes Around the Corner and She Licks It Up!

My sons don't have friends. Okay, that's not entirely true. They have friends, but they don't have FRIENDS, not in the real sense of the word, not in what I perceive to be the real sense of the word. What they each have is a bunch of a-little-friendlier-than-friendly-acquaintance type friends, friends who they know through school or soccer or the performing arts studio they've gone to for the past four years, occasionally talk to on the phone, once in awhile see out of the usual setting, and nothing more.

And it hurts my heart.

My whole life, I've had super-close friends. I lived in Chicago up until I was eight, and while I was there, I had Danielle. Danielle, my sister, and I were together almost every weekend, and when we weren't together, we were on the phone (we called each other so much that even now, twenty-nine years later, I remember her phone number--764-7244 in case you're curious). And, yes, our friendship still stands today.

I lived in Coral Springs for a little over a year, and in the short time I was there, I became really close friends with Tracy--so close, in fact, that there was quite a bit of dry humping going on at our sleepovers, but this is neither the time nor the place for that discussion.

When I was nine, I moved to Miramar, and it wasn't long until Jessica and I found each other. From the time I started AC Perry during spring break of fourth grade until middle school began, we were pretty much inseparable. Along with Jessica, I became really close friends with Minh and Chris, too. When middle school started and we were placed in separate classes, I pretty much lost contact with Chris and Jessica (regarding Jessica, I must tell you that having different classes wasn't the only cause of our friendship's demise. Her mother HATED me--and when I scream hated in all caps, I'm not just whistling Dixie--the woman hated me so much that she warned multiple friends' parents that their children should not only slow down and proceed with caution where I was concerned, but they should advise their children to run away screaming when I approached--and no, I'm not kidding. I wish I was). During this time, Minh became my main friend. We had all of our classes together, and almost every day, we went to either my house or her house after school. We were extremely close until I misguidedly told her that she walked like a penguin and she gave me the heave ho. At that point, Samantha assumed the role of Kel's best friend; it was a short-lived role, but while it lasted, we spent a great deal of time together.

In seventh grade, Chris and I were reunited through our schedules, and we quickly went back to the way we had been in elementary school. From seventh grade until she went to college, we were as close as two people who don't have sex can be. There was nothing I didn't tell her and nothing she didn't tell me. In middle school, we were together before school, after school, and on the weekends. We spent our summer days and nights together. In high school, after she moved to Davie, we had a routine in which she spent the night at my house on Friday nights and I spent the night at her house on Saturdays. Her going to college was one of the saddest things I've ever experienced. Ever.

Although Chris and I were always together, she was by no means my only friend. In middle school, we had a "group," and that group consisted of Chris, Hope, Mary, and me, and one person from the group was always with another one or talking to one on the phone. I seriously cannot imagine my life without the friends I had in seventh grade. I wouldn't want to.

When Chris went to college, Marnie came along, and the same things I wrote about Chris and me could be said for Marnie. By now, you know the drill: we were always together, we slept at each other's houses all the time, and we shared everything two people who don't have sex can share. This went on for three years until she moved to Chicago (at which point she fell in love with a pastor, became some type of fundamentalist, and apparently decided it wasn't in her best interest to associate with a heathen like me. Thanks a heap, Marnie).

Enter Erin. I won't bore you with the same details I've already bored you with over and over, but suffice it to say that Erin and I were close. We worked together. We lived together. We did everything together. Everything.

It wasn't my intention to ramble, but I see that I have. Let me just apologize in advance because I'm about to do it some more.

As I've made very apparent--sorry about the dead horse--I've never not had a close friend. As I've gotten older, my time has gotten scarce, and my close friendships have gotten different, but I still have them. In my opinion, a life without close friends just isn't complete.

Each and every friend I mentioned had a significant role in my life, especially the friends that I had from seventh grade on. I never felt lonely when I was young;one of my friends was always around. I always--always--had somebody who I could talk to, who I could cry to, who I could laugh with. I always--always--felt like I was a part of something. And now, looking back, I know that I was. I can't begin to tell you how much having close friends has enriched my life.

And my sons don't have any.

They don't have anybody whom they can tell every little mundane detail of their day; whom they can tell every sick, twisted thought that crosses their mind; whom they can talk to about the girl they like, the teacher they hate, or the fight they just had with one another. They don't have anyone with whom they can just be.

It's a fundamental part of growing up that they're both lacking, and it's one of the saddest things I can think of.

 A week or two ago, we watched The Goonies for family movie night, and in the middle of it, Griffin said, I wish I had friends like that.

I wish you did, too, Griffin. I wish you did, too.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Don't Know What You Got Till It's Gone?

So I'm wondering. If you know that something is inevitable, is it better to stave it off and experience a low level of discomfort and unhappiness interspersed with bouts of happiness for an extended period of time, or is it better to just face the inevitable and experience a massive amount of pain that may never go away?

Take, for example, surgery on a body part that experiences chronic, yet intermittent, pain. Sometimes the pain might be mild and dull--so mild and dull, actually, that you barely--barely-- notice it's there--and it lasts for several weeks; other times the pain may be horribly acute (this acute pain is often, but it usually only afflicts you for short periods); and still other times, the pain may be gone entirely, at which point you not only feel completely healthy and robust and better than you ever have in your life, but you're so filled with pain-free bliss that you walk around feeling thankful and blessed until the pain strikes again. 

Now, you know that at some point you are going to have to have surgery and that this surgery will be utterly painful and completely debilitating; in fact, after having surgery you may never have proper use of this body part again.  Instead of the varying kinds of pain you now experience--and sometimes don't experience--there is a chance that your chronic pain will never dissipate; it will be constant, it will be major, and it will be there for the rest of your life.  Of course, there is also a chance that after the utterly painful and completely debilitating rehabilitation period, your pain will be gone. But which way things will end up is impossible to know.

Knowing the risk, do you get the surgery now, or do you try to enjoy (as much as you can) the time before the tremendous pain?

What do you do?

What do I do?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Diff'rent Strokes Really Do Move the World

It's elaboration time! And the lucky number from my list that will be elaborated on is number 10:  "Two people from the same family who were raised exactly the same way can be completely different, not just in personalities, but in beliefs/practices/lifestyles/anything and everything."

Okay, so here's the thing. People are seriously prone to blaming the way a child was raised for his or her shortcomings. If a child is a little hellion, rude and lacking in basic manners, we usually say something akin to, "Well, he doesn't know better. His parents never taught him to put his napkin on his lap," or "Well, how's he supposed to know he isn't supposed to say please and thank you? Nobody ever taught him to do that," or maybe even "It's not his fault. His mom's never home, so he doesn't know he's not supposed to lick his plate like a dog."

Okay, so maybe most people know enough to not lick their plates (though I wouldn't be on it), but my question is, How do they know? I already said we usually blame the parents for the bad, so, logically, we should praise the parents for the good, too; after all, it's our parents who make us who we are, right?

You're probably inclined to answer that question with a yes, but if you are, I need to overpower your yes with a resounding no. I mean, sure, it makes sense that we'd be molded by our parents, but it's just not the case.  Don't believe me? Want proof? Fear not, readers. I've got proof aplenty.

As you all know, my sister and I just went on a three-day trip to Chicago together. I used this time to gather anthropological evidence supporting my parents-have-nothing-to-do-with-the-people-we-are hypothesis.  My findings are as follows:

Heather can't sleep with the TV off, and I can't sleep with it on. She is in no way concerned with the energy she is wasting or its effect on the environment. I find the thought of contributing to global warming horrific.

Heather turns the water on about ten minutes before she gets in the shower. Again, the environment is not at all a concern.  I turn the water on and get in the shower before the water is even hot.

In yet another kick to the crotch of the environment, Heather leaves the water running the entire time she brushes her teeth (which, incidentally, is about three minutes less than I brush my teeth). I turn the water off as soon as my toothbrush gets wet.

My sister does not know who Rick Scott is (she also doesn't vote in local elections (I have a sneaking suspicion she might not even vote in national ones)). Nary a day goes by that I don't lament his existence.

My sister believed the Obama birth certificate controversy. I don't believe anything, ever, unless I consult about five sources first.

My sister talks with her mouth stuffed full of food--it's actually practically the only time she talks. I hold my pinkie out when holding a glass and can't remember the last time I ate without a napkin on my lap.

My sister subscribes to the more-is-better-and-cheaper-is-best school of thought where food is concerned. I'd rather have something decadent and expensive.

My sister is, generally, friendly and amicable, and she doesn't get easily irritated and frustrated by every little thing that people do. Do I even need to state my side of this one?