Today some people I love helped put me back together. I truly was falling apart this morning after a challenging week. Saying goodbye to Evan was even more difficult for our family than in January - mostly because we won't see him again until sometime in 2012, most likely. The reality of that set in last week and the vibe in our house has been heavy since Wednesday.
After managing a broken closet door in the girls' room, cleaning up two potty accidents by Anna, and finding a load of dark, wet clothes in the washer that had been washed with someone's pocket tissues (oy!), the kids and I headed down to our congregation for Saturday services this morning. I was trying to sort out what answer I would give when people came at me with the inevitable "How are you?"...So many responses: "Fine", with either an air of sincerity or lack thereof; the surprising "Why do you ask?", sure to make them feel foolish for daring to care; the defensive " fine, thanks, why shouldn't I be?" while avoiding eye contact, just to help me feel more sorry for myself as I alienate a well-wisher; or, there's the one I had the audacity to use: the honest response (gasp): "You know, it's been a tough week. I'm having a difficult time today."
It is so hard to do this. It is risky. But, today, it paid off. I was allowed to feel crappy, express it, and was even encouraged to stop pressuring myself to feel better right away. That kind of support will get the kids and me through this next year, for sure.
I love that, at this point in my life, I have some relationships that have enough history to allow for the occasional negative exchange. These people see me not for every changing mood but for the general "trajectory of my life" (to quote an idea from our Rabbi). They know that, while I may be down a bit now, I will give back when I can and will not be down for long. They trust me and they love me and they allow me to have bad days without jeopardizing the friendships.
The God I follow and love does that, too. He stands by me and waits for me to come back to a place where I can continue growing and changing and learning, patiently allowing me to experience pain and even wallow in it sometimes.
I hope I can be this kind of friend to my friends and parent to my kids.