Why do we let so much time pass without getting together with our friends? Last night I had a group of special ladies over for our annual Christmas gathering. I have known these gals for many years. Several of them worked with me at the Sylvan Learning Center, others came as friends of a group member and were drawn into the fold .We formed a book group, meeting once a month to discuss the book we’d chosen to read, but mostly we used the time to catch up with one another. New members joined, others left when they moved out of the area, but a core group of us persisted. After a while, though, we all became so busy that meeting once a month became difficult. But we always make an effort to gather together every Christmas when we pledge to get together soon, and the next thing we know, it’s December again.
We had a good time last night, sharing the ups and downs of the past year. There were, sadly, the loss of parents and divorces among our grown children to report. We discussed everything from dealing with illness, and questions about retirement, to the challenges of figuring out our smart phones! And, of course, pictures of the grandchildren to pass around.
So many changes and adjustments to make or contemplate accrue in our lives over the course of a year and there is nothing like having a group of supportive, sympathetic friends to lend and ear or give you a hug when you need one. It sends a message we all need to hear, an assurance that we are not alone. But the reality is, our lives are very complicated and the demands on our time and energy are many. No wonder the days pass like an express train racing through our lives.
They call us the sandwich generation, an apt description. Sandwiched between the needs of aging parents and our children, many of whom fail to be fledged, returning to the nest, sometimes with fledglings of their own in tow. Today we have our parents living longer, which is a blessing, although medical problems can make it difficult for them to handle things on their own. We want to keep them with us as long as possible but caring for them can become a full-time job. Then there are our children, dealing with job loss or failed marriages, needing financial assistance, or even a roof over their heads and someone to watch the little ones while they work. Sandwiched indeed! But at a time when we are feeling the effects of aging, too, with illnesses and fatigue of our own to handle. We see retirement slipping further and further away. We get discouraged and often depressed
But every now and then, we need to slip away and seek comfort and a sense of renewal. Caregivers must never forget to care for themselves And what better way than an evening spent in the company of supportive friends, willing to share the joys and sorrows, the hopes and the fears, the challenges and the changes we face everyday? I think we all need more of this . We’re not looking for answers, just for someone to listen.
This quote by Benjamin Franklin comes to mind: “Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time for that is the stuff life is made of.” So look out ladies. I’ll be calling. Maybe in the spring, a trip to Fearrington or Duke Gardens will be in our future.
This year is going to be different. This year we are getting together again before t the Christmas decorations go up. ( Unless, of course, I don’t get a chance to take them down till next December!)