Michigan Women

107

 

It is bitter weather today. Walking outside reminds me instantly that winter life in Michigan is not for the weak. There is a woman who lives across the road from us, who, each day starts her snow blower and clears her driveway. Her daughter stands on the porch, a pair of eyes peaking from her neck warmer and hat, watching her mother, amazed. I look at the two of them and think, women in the Midwest are pretty amazing. We possess a strength that is inherited from watching the women before us survive. We learn to take care of ourselves and our families without complaining. We survive together with knit mittens and knee high boots.   We are a community that will not give up. We are strong. And when I think of Michigan in this way, my story becomes more than bitter weather and snow blower fumes.  My story comes alive; and I am no longer tired. I am ready.

Life in that Moment

It had been a long time since I had seen my friend, Kate. Too long, if you had asked either of us. For years after I graduated high school I had kept in touch with my french teacher. I had found her inspiring all of those awkward years. Often the class she taught was the only one I could manage through. And even though I struggled in French, there was comfort in learning when she was the teacher. And then, graduation came and time passed and we would get together often on breaks. In this passing time, as I developed into my own, our relationship transitioned into a friendship. A very good friendship at that. So when she invited me last Friday to have a dinner celebration with her friends, I knew I would go no matter what plans had to be re-arranged. Sitting around a table with seven women, I was floored by each of them. Despite the paths we were each on, there were seven women coming together, bonding, laughing, challenging and wondering together. It was a powerful night for me to look at these faces and to feel nothing but content. Life was so good in that moment, sitting around a table with seven women.

Saturday morning came with a wake up from my sweet baby niece. My twin sister and I sat on the couch, drinking coffee and catching up. Then, a call from my mom encouraged us to get up, get dressed and get out the door! We had things to do! Off to the farmers market we went, sleeping baby in stroller to collect apples. Together we went to my grandma’s house to make applesauce. We had done this many years before, and the prospect of doing it again excited me. Looking around her kitchen at the generations surrounding me, I was floored by each of them. Despite the path we were each on, there were five women, coming together, bonding, laughing, challenging and wondering together. It was a powerful day for me to look at these faces and feel nothing but content. Life was so good in that moment, working in a kitchen with five women.

It was raining when I left my parents house on Saturday night. My little niece, Sloane, was snuggled in her car seat behind my driver’s seat, already in her pajamas for the night. I turned on a slow-paced, peaceful song from my i-pod and listened as her breaths slowed, fading in to the rain on my windshield, drip drip drip. Looking out to where my headlights ended in front of me, all I could think of was how small she seemed in this moment, of how dependent me she was, of how much love I had for her. It was just she and I in that moment. Looking in the rearview mirror, at the small lady behind me, I was floored by her. Despite the path that she will take in life, I will continue to do things for her intentionally to bring us together, so that we may bond, laugh, challenge and wonder together. It was a powerful night for me to look at her face and feel nothing but content. Life was so good in that moment, driving home with that one little lady.

On Sunday, I volunteered to spend the afternoon with my brother’s daughters. Five and three years old, they are growing all too quickly for their Aunt D’s liking. But each time I see them, they run to me with hugs and love (and if they don’t I force them to anyway). Once their parents were out the door, I cranked the volume on the CD player and the wild rumpus began. We latched hands and spun in a circle, giggling and falling to the floor. Laying on the floor, heads touching, I was floored by the two of them. Despite the path that I have been on these past few years, they have have always been there for me. Always we come together, bonding, laughing, challenging and wondering together. It was a powerful day for me to look at their sweet faces and feel nothing but content. Life was so good in that moment, laying on the living room floor with these little pumpkins.

My weekend home was amazing. And not because of anything I necessarily did but because of who I did it with. What would I do without all of these women in my life. Damn, I am lucky.

& then the weekend came.

This week has been a lot of this and that, here and there, up and down. And now it’s the weekend! A busy weekend, for sure, but the weekend nonetheless. Have a good one.

heated blankets & watching new girl
shower planning & craft projects
coffee in the car & preschool drop off 
farmers Markets & sunshine
calling caterers & organizing addresses
dreaming & goal setting
helping friends & laughing hard
planning & following through
orange leaves & green grass
being patient & having expectations
hide & seek
ice cream & rummikub
bananas & peanut butter
orange paint & potato stencils
rice & lentils
lead & rubber
wind & sunglasses
music & clarity

plant on shelfrugpostcardshine oncoffee on bookshelfpurple circle

Girls Weekend::: Pentwater, Michigan

359 days ago we made a pact with one another:: to dedicate one weekend, each year to our friendships. Life is busy, you know? There are jobs to keep, and houses to keep up, families to see, weddings to attend, always there is something to do. But we matter to one another. We are the people that can count to one another. We hold one another up. We encourage one another. We are family. And our friendships are a break from this mad, mad world. So this year, we went back to that beach where we made our promise 395 days ago. And as we watched the sun set from the pier, I couldn’t help but realize how rich I am in life, to have sisters so dedicated to one another, no matter what, as these women are to me.  girls 2013Three girls on pierbonfire in pentwaterShoreIn our group there are some who build the fire, and then others who make the smores. I am the latter. And though they keep trying to explain the art of cavemen innovation, I still become distracted, unlearned and truth be known, unwilling to learn. I need friends in my life to make the fires for me. We all have a place and certain talents that define us, and we all keep giving our talents to support one one another. I try to always make room in my life for my friends to share themselves. This is the secret, I believe, that makes our group strong, perpetuating, undying.  flip flops in the sandView of Pentwater BeachThe Mermaid RocksWe spent an entire day parked on the beach. Sharing stories about work, sipping cocktails in the sand, laughing about memories from college we had long ago forgotten. We poured out plans for Crissy’s wedding, and became giddy about the pending incredible life changes to come this year. We hold a past, present and future with one another that is makes each of us irreplaceable.Pentwater Beach from the PierDune GRass with BeachWe looked up in the sky and felt warm, very warm for the first time all year. We drew a line in the sand, promising to always come back, each summer, for our friendships, for one another, because we matter. Four on Pentwater Beach