Friday, March 28, 2014

Only Connect

photograph by BeesKnees

"Only connect!.....
Live in fragments no longer."
(E.M. Forster, Howard's End)

The year I was pregnant with Malachi (yes, it felt like a year), my word was "fearful." I wanted a different word, and I prayed and wrestled to get past it, but when I look back, my journey during those months was marked by fear.
Then he was born, and although things were rocky at first, with extra days in the hospital due to severe jaundice, eventually we settled into a peaceful routine. The whole next year was marked by gratitude. Everything seemed too good to be true: the helpful big sisters, the beautiful baby boy, the relaxing schedule of home schooling. The wilderness of illness and joblessness that our family had wandered in for seven long years seemed to be coming to an end. I was tired, taking care of a new baby, but in a lot of ways that mattered, I was rested. Deeply rested. And the word that I most often flung up to heaven was, "Thank you."

Yesterday something happened, a small thing, but it made me stop and notice. I noticed a new feeling, one that's been sneaking up on me, but that I disregarded until now. The feeling was isolation. I explored it as one explores a sore tooth, tentatively, worrying it, nudging it. Drat. I am most definitely feeling isolated.

As I write this, my daughter is enjoying a day with one of her oldest friends. I'm the one who gets the ball rolling on these play dates. I've been concerned since she started home schooling that she wouldn't have enough time with friends. She's perfectly happy to be home with me, as long as she gets to see her cousin and her big sister every week or so. But friend time is important. Friends don't have to choose us. Around them, we learn to be a bit more careful, a tad more polite, a lot more forgiving. A friend cannot be taken for granted.

I remember 22 years ago, when we were frantic, frazzled young moms, my friend Michele asked in desperation, "Where are all the fifty-year-old women? Can't they help us?" Well, I'm not quite that age yet, but I'll tell you where they are. They're working. They're busy making money to pay for their kids' college bills. They're going to Bible Studies. They're exercising. In short, they're making up for the years they spent with young children, when they couldn't go anywhere easily.

So here I stand, with one foot in the Young Mommy Club, and one foot in the Older Mom Club. I thought I would belong to both clubs, and happily skip between my older friends and my younger friends, but that has proven a difficult dance. It seems like I'm in a club all by myself. My attempts to go to Bible Study at my church have been dismal, because I was too nervous to spend the money to put Malachi in nursery. On rare Tuesdays, I convince Anna Kate to come with me, and she plays with the baby for a half hour while I pop in on my small group and reconnect. It's not ideal. I feel guilty for taking her away from schoolwork, and I hardly get any time with my wonderful group.

I don't know what next year will look like. I don't know if we'll move, and if we do, if my friends will be willing to drive that far to see me. I do know that I'm learning a bit more about living life with eyes wide open, looking around to see if maybe there are others who are feeling the way I am. I'm sure there are, because we live in fragmented times.

Here's a song for you, to bless your friendships and your weekend.


  1. I understand, Laura! I truly do. You are blessed beyond measure, and I know that your older friends, your "your age" friends, and your younger friends all treasure your sweet spirit and the wisdom you have to share, for all ages--because your feet are firmly planted on the Rock of Ages! And because you have hidden His Word in your heart, which is timeless, He will comfort you in the dry seasons and in the seasons when it is your time to speak forth His comfort and truth to others. He is a Friend and Counselor like no other! Your words here are a treasure to read. Thank you Laura! You know I had our youngest at age 43, so we now have a 15 year old and 18 year old still at home, which sometimes has been difficult for my husband and myself, as Tim travels a lot for business, and wishes I could come along on all his trips. So--we are feeling a sort of "isolation" through the pain of having to be apart from one another when he has to travel. But we are called to parent these young people who are growing so fast that before we know it they too will be out of the nest! We find that our moments spent on nurturing relationships with our children are some of the best spent moments. I am blessed that my husband is so good at seeing each child's particular needs and is able to speak to their heart, with wisdom. This journey of parenting is a good one. Enjoy every moment--and I pray that all of your family will always remain close to Jesus! xoxo

    1. Thank you for these wise and beautiful words, Jane. I'm glad they're on the blog so I can easily reread them when I need encouragement. It is very sweet how we can lift each other up across the miles (and so many years from Yarina).


  2. Oh Laura, this is beautifully said - and makes so much sense. You are in a very special club - mom-to-grown-kids-and-mom-to-toddler-too club - and based on what I know from others in this club, it definitely has its challenges and loneliness, along with the sweetness. For what it's worth, you are also still in my club: busy-mom-keeping-my-world-afloat. Does it help to know you're not alone in your isolation, as ironic and unfulfilling as that may sound? Thanks for sharing so vulnerably, friend. Much love to you in this season. xxoo

    1. Ah Julie thank you. I like being in your club.