Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Good Ol' Days

I miss the good ol' days. Sometimes I feel a sadness that the best days of my life are already over, and my dreams have had to change.

The good ol' days for me were the days that we lived in Show Low, Arizona. Real life, married with children was really beginning, and it was exciting. I had the best girlfriends ever--actually, we all still keep in touch in one way or another, and I found my very best friend there, but back then, things were different. We were all in the same ward, thanks to a fortuitous boundary change, that brought them all into my life. It was just about the time when I was learning to accept my new life in the rural mountain town we had moved to. So many great girls, all of us youngish moms, still building our families, decorating our homes, and learning about marriage. In ups and downs, we had each other. We had Girls Nights Out, we had group birthday lunches, game nights, and parties. Scrapbooking and stamping clubs, and serving in callings together. We would go camping as families, all of the men just as awesome as the ladies. Put the kids to bed and sit around the campfire telling secrets and busting a gut laughing. Trudging through rapids to get a bath--maybe Lori washing downstream with all of us laughing too hard to save her--having to attack wild cows with paint guns while they ate the food off of our children's plates unfazed.

Life was so simple back then. My homeschooling had begun with my two little children and I was in heaven. We were remodeling the old house we'd bought and planting a garden. Having another baby. Dance lessons, piano lessons, and cozy holidays. My mind filled with visions of someday having more babies, buying a house with enough land to have horses, a milk cow, chickens, a huge garden, and an orchard of sorts. I would keep on homeschooling, and send them off to college.

Life only turns out with fragments of what you hope for. They may be glittering, jewel-like fragments, but sometimes I long for the entirety of what I imagined, and feel a sense of sadness that the opportunity for some of my dreams has long since passed. I probably won't ever get to carry and hold my own baby again. That makes my heart ache. Even if circumstances were different, the realization that biologically I'm running out of time has started to occur to me and I hate it.

Now, that group of amazing friends lives scattered all over. We all have teenagers now. Some have missionaries, college students. Most have financial security, careers, own homes, go on vacations, have solid time-tested marriages. I feel like I fell off the conveyor belt somewhere along the way. I feel like I just can't get back on track. And I feel alone.

On my birthday last week, one of those old friends said, "Wish we could all go out to lunch to celebrate like we used to!" I had this flashback of those days. How we laughed! How we knew each other so well. Sometimes there were disagreements and hurt feelings, but we shared a loyalty and an in-this-togetherness that I have not experienced since then. It feels like everything in life is whizzing past me these days, and I'm spinning in a different orbit. Soon half of my children will be grown, and I feel like I have so little to show for my life.

Little kids. Big dreams. I miss those days.


Andrea said...

I wish I had something brilliant to say to make it all better.
Thank you for your honest post. I love your writing. It evokes such emotion. And I love how you describe life- little kids, big dreams is kinda where I am. But without all those great friends.

Don said...

Little kids. Big dreams. Missed days.

I am so there with you.

Holly (2 Kids and Tired) said...

Awesome post Jenna. I miss having friends.

Misty said...

such a great post... i am waiting for that phase of my life to start... :)

Sarah said...

I too appreciate your honest post. I wish things could be for you, just how you dream them to be! I am still learning to not take for granted what I have been blessed with the past 13 years. So often I forget to look at all the good that has come, because I'm too worried about what's not "perfect" right now.

Renae said...

I don't know the particulars of your first divorce but I can relate to this post. I have 5 kids, I'm in a second marriage and have discovered that maybe I should have tried harder the first time. Life is so much harder than I thought it would be for both my kids and for me and I do miss so many parts of my old life, it seems so simple compared to now. I always advise friends who are contemplating divorce that the alternative is usually not what it seems it will be. I wish someone had told me that but I probably wouldn't have listened.
Thanks for your honesty.

amber Watt said...

It's funny, I think about those days all the time. We were all stay at home mom's trying to start our families, we all had about the same budget and we all lived very close together. I didn't realize at the time that those days wouldn't last forever and even though I've lived in Utah for 10 years it's just not the same. The hustle and bustle of busy lives have taken over.

I think about that camping trip every once in a while. Tons of fun! I think I remember someone having to save Lori in the river ;)

Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

I'm glad you have those memories to draw upon, because while there might be bitter mixed with the sweet, you've had something incredible that not everyone gets to partake in. And you recognize it too.

I want to give you a big hug and tell you again how you touch my heart every time you post here. And I want to find the right, not-the-least-bit-patronizing words to tell you how young you still are, and how much potential you have yet to realize. There's still room and time for big dreams. New ones perhaps.

Love you!

Cynthia said...

I kept reading and re-reading the sentence 'we only get fragments of what we dreamed about'. SO powerful!

I believe that the 'mid life crisis' is in fact the realization that everything isn't possible anymore. Our choices, no matter what they are/were, have ruled out some possibilities. We give up bits along the way and only as we reach that point of of middle age do we realize they are totally gone.

Now we learn the wisdom of enjoying the fragments as they come and trying to accept what is instead of what we imagine might have been. Beautiful post!