Posts tagged life
Posts tagged life
I’ve had an incredibly busy summer!
1. I went to Swaziland for 5 weeks, and it changed my life. I need to go back.
2. I was the assistant director of a Bible Camp for 3 weeks and wanted to cry every day.
3. I visited my grandpa in Florida, and got to see my cousin, too!
4. My brother moves in at RPI…tomorrow. They grow up too fast.
5. Oh, and I fell in love with a guy who treats me like a princess <3
I need to vent.
Yes, I am the girl who has a million guy friends at a campus that is 70% female. And yes, many (if not most) of my closest friends are guys. But that doesn’t mean that I am a flirt, and it doesn’t mean that I am secretly stringing them all along waiting for the best opportunity to “make my move”. I do not feel an unquenchable desire for male attention, nor am I looking for a relationship or a “ring by Spring”. I don’t necessarily want so many of my friends to be guys, and I honestly feel slightly awkward about it. It just happens- I connect easier with guys. I wish I had more girl friends, I really do.
So stop judging me.
As we approached the border into Vermont, Catherine started digging for our passports. I handed them through the window to the guard, and he held onto them a little longer than what seemed acceptable. He began to ask us a series of seemingly random questions, and afterwards waved us onward. We started debating what that had been about; it was effortless entering Canada, why had it been such a hassle to come back? “It was probably the age difference” she decided. I was taken aback. It had been years since I had thought of, or really even noticed, the age difference between us. I tried to think… how old is she? I remembered her as twenty-four, but I guess she is really twenty-nine now. Eight years. But all of my childhood friends are that much older than me I rationalized, and kept speeding towards home.
* * * *
I sat on the bathroom counter watching Catherine and Emily put blue streaks in their hair. They had positioned me there because I was small enough to stay out of the way, but I still felt included. As they chattered about something unbeknownst to me, I began to doze off as most young children do after their bedtime. I was tired from a long day on the slopes, and the Dudley’s familiar condo was warm and inviting. I suddenly snapped back to attention when I heard “…it would work great on hers!” Catherine got up and left, coming back with my mom in tow. My mom asked me if I wanted blue in my hair and I nodded sheepishly, still not completely sure what was going on. Emily put me on her lap, and within minutes I had a river of blue in my blonde mop. My mom was proud of her little “rebel”, but I liked it solely because the girls had done it. During the car ride home from Sunday River that weekend I played with the strand that seemed somehow foreign, despite being part of me.
* * * *
Every Christmas Day we would all get together at the Heikkila’s house for dessert. The Heikkilas, Dudleys, and Kangases were really the only families that I remember interacting with on a regular basis (despite living in a small town). They were all “aunts and uncles”, and for a long time I didn’t actually know that they weren’t relatives. Coming together for Christmas seemed so natural for us when I was young, because isn’t that what families are supposed to do?
The one thing that I can be sure of is that every year we had a punch bowl cake. Punch bowl cake is nothing more than cake, pudding, whipped cream, and heath bar layered in a glass bowl, but to us it was always of utmost importance. Christmas day would not have been the same without our familiar favorite.
* * * *
Each year was the same…until I reached middle school. There was a dramatic shift once Catherine, Emily, Mikey, Jonathan, and Random (Yes, his name actually is Random. And please, none of those “that’s so random” jokes…) left for college. Everything started out seemingly normal. We didn’t have any snow that year, so we all went outside and played on the trampoline. They used to make a game out of seeing how high they could get me to bounce. I flew right off a few times, but always brushed it off and got back up, ready for more.
Then, at seven o’clock the college kids packed up and left. They disappeared without warning, leaving my brother and I alone with the adults. Connor and I investigated and discovered that they had all gone to an after party at the Dudley’s house. Although they were always gracious about my brother and I being their shadows, even they needed time to just be… college kids.
* * * *
I remember very distinctly the Christmas that I was sixteen. It was a sad Christmas for our whole group because of my father’s death; it was a personal loss for all of the families. I sat on the arm of the couch leaning up against my mother and picked at a giant serving of punch bowl cake, as the older kids were getting ready to leave. They gathered their trash, put on their coats, and said goodbye to the adults; all the while I couldn’t help but feel a sense of emptiness growing inside at the thought of them going back to school.
I decided to focus on that large bowl of punch bowl cake to distract me from those emotions. I took giant bites and watched the flames dance in the wood stove. I really wished I could go with them, but had learned to give them space out of respect. Their company was more enjoyable than the adults’, though. When I thought that the college kids had left already, there was suddenly a hand on my shoulder. “Hey Chels, are you coming?” Random asked.
* * * *
For the past five years I have been considered one of the “big kids” without hesitation. Naturally, every Christmas Day I go to the after party with them. One year we sat in the living room around a fire and talked about post-colonialism in Ireland and India. The next year Catherine and I told Emily and Jonathan about our trips to Italy and Ireland together (Our mothers are travel buddies). Another year we had a dance party with music that Random brought back from his piloting job in Uganda. This past year Catherine and I planned the trip to Montreal that we took in January. Although each annual get-together seems completely unique, something remains the same: we are still the same small-town kids that grew up together. Though we are all growing up and going our separate ways, our roots are, and always will be, intertwined.
People are so unpredictable.
One minute they are by your side, the next they are gone.
One minute they are shy, the next they are outgoing.
One minute they aren’t talking to you, the next they are texting like crazy.
One minute they seem not to care, the next they tell you they love you.
One minute you are bonded for life, the next they are a memory.
One minute they are laughing, the next they are crying.
One minute they hate you, and then they miss you.
Honestly, people can never make up their minds.
Last night I said my final farewell to my friend Kate. She left for a semester in Italy this morning, and life just doesn’t seem the same. It’s like I can feel the distance on my heart- the father she goes the more empty I feel. She is one of the few that I refuse to let go of.
I have begun a process of distancing myself emotionally from many of my friends. There are a select few that I still allow myself to actually…be emotional… about. With everyone else I am just sort of… numb.
I don’t know if this is some super early form of Senioritis- realizing that these people are just part of THIS chapter of my life, and I won’t keep in contact with them after we go our separate ways. Maybe it is a strange form of depression. Maybe I just don’t want anyone else to disappoint me, so I deny them the opportunity.
Whatever the cause, I feel as though I have been saying a lot of final goodbyes. I’ve simply been cutting the strings, freeing myself from any emotional commitment to anyone that I do not truly believe will be a life-long friend.