Saturday, August 8, 2015

College Roommates

     Besides falling in love with my adorable and amazing husband, one of the best things that came out of my four years at Boston College was meeting eight incredible women. All of these years later (many more than I care to admit), we remain ever present in each other's lives. Oddly, we regularly refer to ourselves as the "roomies". The term works itself into all of our conversations. Ironically, we never all lived together in one location during those college days. Different variations of the eight of us have shared dorm rooms and apartments, yet we consider ourselves "roomies" for life.
     We have been through the many ups and downs of life together. And by together, I don't necessarily mean "physically" since we are scattered across six different states (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maryland, Virginia, and Georgia) making true reunions difficult to plan and generally limited to once a year, sometimes once every few years. 
     Still, these women are as much a part of my life as those I see on a daily basis. It is nearly impossible to describe the level of communication that transpires between all of us via text and email. Rarely does an entire week go by without some form of communication from one of the roomies, updating the rest of us on a random facet of her life. Sometimes, when life is at its busiest, a few respond while the others attempt to catch up at a later date. In those moments, we quickly check in and then move on, caught in the tide, the ebb and flow of our individual lives. More often, one text sets off a chain of texts, each of us contributing randomly to the conversation which has literally gone on for hours, days, sometimes weeks. 
     For those late to the text string, it is often overwhelming to catch up on the news, particularly since the topics change as quickly as the thought has entered one of our minds. Adding to the confusion is the fact that we never edit the "re" line so you begin reading about the topic referenced and slowly find yourself exposed to a wide variety of comments that have absolutely no connection to the original topic. In an effort to make the process easier for those who have missed the original text string, one of the roomies has recently resorted to sending a summary email, highlighting the important points in the original text. This was a brilliant update to the system!
     This method of communication has worked for us for so many years, it's become an integral part of our relationships with each other. Those emails and texts have provided me with many moments of comfort and peace during times of crisis. It feels as though we are sharing our morning coffees, or our afternoon snacks, or our evening glasses of wine together. As a result, the conversation flows as only it can with true friends. I regularly find myself laughing out loud, all alone in a room as I make my way through the string of texts. My family and friends have come to understand that there are times when I'm lost to them, fully immersed in the roomie conversation, smiling, chuckling, and sometimes, crying my way through the discussion.
     Today, I celebrate this group of women: strong, smart, sexy, sarcastic, sympathetic, and sensational (I had to go with the alliteration once I got started). I'm so glad that technology has allowed us to stay connected even though life has led us down so many different paths. Keep the messages coming, girls!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

August Anxiety - Slice of Life Challenge #3

Someone posted a quote on Facebook recently that said it best: "The month of August feels like a Sunday evening for teachers." Although the relaxed routines of summer still exist, there is also a realization that the start of a new school year is quickly approaching. Each morning, I open my eyes and remind myself to do something enjoyable, more specifically, to do something that I won't indulge in once the first day of school is upon us. I consider reading a book for a few hours, going for a long walk with the dogs, cooking a new recipe for dinner, watching a movie with the kids, working on the photo books, or connecting with an old friend. Even with the best laid plans to embrace summer, I inevitably find myself organizing closets, paying bills, cleaning out the pantry, working on my plans for the 1st Quarter, creating binders and folders for the school year, or possibly, trolling Pinterest, at first for new recipes, inspiring home decor, or stylish new outfits, but always ending with a search for new classroom organization and decoration tips, potential ideas for stimulating lessons, and links to educational videos.

I confess to being one of those moms who absolutely loves spending time with my family. My husband infuses laughter into each and every family activity which keeps the kids coming back for more. I've never felt "ready" for them to go back to school. This has become particularly true since my oldest will be returning to college in a few weeks. There is no amount of mental or emotional preparation that can make that moment of good-bye any easier for me. I remind myself of the importance of this chapter in her life and what a gift it is that she is genuinely happy and settled in this new place she calls home. Still, the tears flow when I allow myself to even think about the impending drop-off. I can't begin to imagine next summer when there will be two drop-offs and only one left at home. God knew what He was doing when he gave us the gift of our youngest so many years after the first two.

Although this post is one day late for the Tuesday Slice of Life, it is a great way to start my day. I've allowed myself to get lost in my own thoughts and to focus on a new approach to these final weeks of summer. Today, I commit to a change of mindset, to embrace a philosphy of carpe diem. I will focus on spending quality time with the family and engaging in enjoyable free-time activities, with only a sliver of time reserved for endless planning and preparing.