Made you click.
If you drop by my house tonight, you will see that there are two beautifully decorated, perfectly lit petite trees on the porch. Inside we have a tree decorated in musical themes by our baby grand piano. Our family room houses our fresh cut family tree covered in ornaments made of macaroni and glitter and toilet paper rolls. There are vacuum lines in the carpet and the granite is sparkling. There is even a pot of soup simmering on the stove.
Those are the “truths” any unassuming observer would accept. Here is the reality of my home tonight.
The lovely trees on my porch are hiding the planters that still have the decaying carcasses of geraniums from last summer. Three feet away, the generator is still in position from the last power outage we had—10 months ago. The musical tree in our piano room was assembled by a good friend and stored all year completely decorated and up right. All I did was plug it into the wall. The fresh cut tree will become a fire hazard in a few weeks from lack of water but only AFTER Chris develops hives on his arms from trying to straighten it for the thousandth time.
Yes, there are vacuum lines and sparkling counters but that’s just because Simone left five minutes ago. The soup? Well that’s the culinary extravaganza made of unpeeled carrots, broken spaghetti and canned chicken stock. Instructions: throw in pot. Boil for too long. Make children eat.
Today, while I worked and cooked I thought of my truest friends.
Yesterday, one of them sat next to me as we squeezed an important meeting in after a long sweaty run. She hugged me and kissed me on the cheek and I let her. Even though I hadn’t showered in a day and a half. Every so often we would look at each other and wordlessly question whose stench was worse. One time, that same friend did something so unexpected and moving for me that when I saw her afterwards, my excitement got ahead of me and I tried to hug and kiss her at the same time. I ended up planting a kiss full on her lips–well her teeth really ( she was smiling.) The point is…we died laughing. She didn’t for a second think it was awkward. And our husbands sort of enjoyed the moment.
Just last week, another friend popped in to see me while I was at work. We chatted for no more than three minutes but it felt like a warm bath on a cold rainy day. When she left, I texted to tell her I could still smell her….in my hair.
“Um. That’s possibly the creepiest thing ever.” She wrote back.
But, alas, there was one creepier fact: That night, I had a dream that she was sleeping next to me…in my bed…under my covers.
Today, I raced home after work. I barely had my clothes changed when Haddie came in. Within moments her piano teacher arrived. I ran out to pick Sam up and deliver dinner and a charger to Maisy who was pulling a 14 hour school day.
When I finally got home, another friend asked if Haddie wanted to play for a bit. I thanked God a little for the bit of time and sent her over skipping down the street. It didn’t occur to me that she had not eaten dinner until I was paying the piano teacher.
“Oh hey. Just so you know, Hadley might be hungry. She just tried to eat a bowl of Coco Puffs with some pickles.”
Here’s the best part.
I could have panicked and ran after my daughter to feed her a real dinner of carrots and chicken stock and floating spaghetti but instead, I relied on my true friend. When I asked her to feed Hadley I knew two things: 1. She would absolutely give her something so awesome I would hear about it for a week and 2. She would never, ever think less of me for sending my kid over hungry.
So, at this moment, on the surface I do have my crap together. All my lights are plugged in and there are vacuum lines in the carpet. But maintaining that crap is EXHAUSTING.
For me, the spirit of this season is in my true friends–ones that happily accept my outer stink, my inner lesbian AND my unfed kids.
Those are friends worth having.