Monday, December 10, 2007

Spinning Your Holiday Web

If you’re in the same part of the Holiday preparation cycle as I am, you spent a good portion of this weekend shopping, standing in lines and fighting traffic. Making your list. And checking it twice. I was so crazed for a couple hours out that I actually did some shopping without first making my list…only to find once home that I should have doubled or tripled or even quadrupled some of the goodies discovered along the way. Nothing like hyperventilating for some shopping time sans kids or spouse without a little mental preparation first……

I faced the weekend wonderfully exhausted, returning about 1 AM Friday (after weather delays into La Guardia stalled my flight into the wee hours of the night) from a four day trip to Art Basel Miami Beach (organized by a man genius in the art world but for crying out loud, certainly not a rocket mom! I mean, who in their right mind would organize an international art fair during the month of December? Does he not have shopping-wrapping-shipping responsibilities?!?)

Anywho, I came back with my new friend with whom I attended the fair. Spectacular! And she wound up spending the night with me before heading back home. With about one hundred friends coming for brunch that morning, she went into over-drive to help me get my act together! Making ham party sandwiches, putting desserts on platters, lighting candles. She was a dream! And a brand new person spun into my web.

The doorbell rang all Friday morning, with friends popping in for coffee, cheer and chats. Holiday hugs were freely exchanged. It was a delightful way for my husband and I to kick off the holidays in our own little corner of the world.

And so as I watched each person come and go, I couldn’t help but think about how many of these friends have been in my web for less than a year. Many were professional associates, met in the normal course of business in my day job; others were friends of friends or spouses of friends. And some have been friends since we moved to Connecticut the first time, a little over seven years ago.

So when I finally took the time to do the preparation for that making-a-list-and-checking-it-twice-drill, I was struck by how, over the years, friends come and friends go. How they seem to be there for a season of our lives…and then quietly disappear as we enter another one. How they come in and spend a lot of quality time there and we assume that they’ll always be this intertwined in the daily activities of our lives, only to wake up to the realization that they will undoubtedly move on. And that others will fill that space that formerly held their reservations. And that it will happen without fanfare. And that one day you’ll realize as you look at your Holiday list, that some of your closest friends from last year do not even share a space in your life anymore.

And that it’s okay.

Because I tend to be like a golden retriever—holding on to people and rarely ever letting go—this sad little fact of life always used to put a lump in my throat. I hated how friends from past homes and cities around the country are simply no longer in my life, since the “exiter” was almost always not me, but the other party. He or she had simply dropped out. Moved on. Not meaning to be mean or hurtful or rude. But just because others now met needs once met by me.

Perhaps it’s called maturity. Or maybe it’s just waking up to some un-desired facts of life. But friends will not always be friends, except in a very few rare instances. And I am blessed beyond measure by those few precious gems. For webs get spun. And then they blow away and need to be spun yet again. With different threads. Different patterns. One not more beautiful than another necessarily. Just different.

One of the lessons of this Holiday for me has been the sharp realization that some of my friends will be with me forever and some will not. Some have come into my life and I into theirs because we are supposed to be bound forever and others have come into my life and I into theirs because we needed each other but for a season.

As you make your list and check it twice, give yourself—and others—the freedom to move on as needed. The separation might hurt for a little bit. For a day or a month. But others will silently move in to fill the void. And you will meet each other exactly where you need to.

Enjoy the Holidays with those whom you really love. Really enjoy your in-your-web friends. Don’t take this season of these friendships for granted. Meet them exactly where they are and enjoy them for all they are meant to be.

Until next week, many blessings….