Exhibit A: Melancholy Melodrama

Author’s note: To prove my point in yesterday’s post about my usual melancholy turning over-the-top melodramatic, I offer you the following exhibition, a post I wrote several weeks ago on one of my funk-ier of funk-y days…

As I was on the final stretch headed home from my walk the other morning, I saw on up ahead of me a group of moms, maybe 5 or 6 of them, each pushing a stroller. I’m embarrassed to tell you this, but despite my fatigue I hurried up so our paths wouldn’t cross.

Once home I cried.

When I saw the group of them chatting and strolling together, I was suddenly overcome with a sense of loneliness and I was sad. Oh, I have friends, lots of them, real and virtual, yet, still, often, I feel lonely. I think it’s partly due to my personality—my hermit tendencies, my moody melancholy—that I sometimes feel alone, aloof and apart.

I think it’s also due to the stage of life I am in. When you spend nearly every day all day getting in and out of the suburban, dashing to and from school and church and sports, well, it is difficult to find and be a good friend.

When I was a young mom, much like the young moms out for a walk this morning, I had a close group of best girlfriends, all of us staying at home and all of us with kids the same age. It was wonderful. We chatted on the phone nearly every day, we kept each others’ kids, we traded maternity clothes and hand me downs, we met for lunch at McD’s. At no other point in my life, excepting perhaps my college years, did I have a group of friends so integrated in my day to day life.

I miss it.

I miss having a friend in my same stage of life, one fully integrated therein, one who can commiserate with the crazy schedule and the raising of teenagers, one who would understand when I say that I don’t think I will survive either of those things, the crazy schedule but especially the raising of teenagers.

I remember being a young mom and having among my acquaintances some moms of teenagers, moms who would try to tell me what I now know to be true: that raising teenagers is far more difficult (not to mention heartbreaking) than any other stage. Knee deep in diapers and juice cups, I couldn’t imagine it. Besides, my babies were so sweet and so innocent and loved me so completely…

So I cried that morning because I felt lonely and also because I felt old. Because I missed my group of best girlfriends, but also because I missed the days of my boys’ babyhood. Because I longed for the times of pushing a stroller and swinging in the porch swing and chatting with my friends about getting our kids to nap or eat vegetables.

Though I don’t really want to go back, not really, still I cried for what was and maybe to some degree for what is.

See? I told you! Melodramatic, indeed!

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Author: Lisa Spence

Wife, mother, Bible teacher, bibliophile, occasional blogger

26 thoughts on “Exhibit A: Melancholy Melodrama”

  1. =D I STILL like you. So there. And you didn’t feel lonely even when you were a young mom? See, I think THAT is amazing. How blessed you were, if that truly was the case.*I* am lonely. The friends that are the most like us, and in the same stage of life, all live at least 200 miles away and it makes seeing them very difficult. I don’t have a personality that goes for the mom’s groups or play dates. I like doing my own thing but I also frequently wish for someone close. When my husband and I were growing up, our families each had a set of close friends that they did everything with. We’re waiting for our close friendship to be born. Somewhere. With someone. Someway.Sure, we have friends. Yes, we love hanging out with them. But that close sense of kinship with a friend? We feel it with various people – absolutely none of whom are in the same stage of life as ourselves. Sometimes I think we were born old.Go ahead and laugh.

  2. Speaking of personality…have you ever read the book “Personality Plus” by Florence Littauer? I just finished it and WOW….I learned so much about myself. For instance, I’m a mix of Popluar Sanguine and Perfect Melancholy. It’s an odd mix I know. Anyhoo, for some reason I thought of you when I read it.

  3. Like Carrie said, I still like you.In fact, I so, so, get this and could have written it myself. And I’m even older than you are, and I’m in your same stage.Blogging has been my playgroup.Wish we could hang out on the porch together with a cup of whatever!

  4. I don't just like you…I love you! I tend to be a loner myself sometimes, though I am blessed with good friends. Still, I only have one friend who is like a sister to me. She's not in the same stage I am as a parent, and she's younger than I…but she's a bosom friend.I think I like being alone & quiet because my job is so hectic. When I come home, I sometimes have to remind myself not to shut down to my hubby & daughter. I'm with Linda…when are we coming over & having coffee on your porch I'll even bring my creamer 😉

  5. Oh, how much we all have in common! I am old for the age of my kids. I work. A lot. I travel. A lot. My husband stays home and does our homeschooling for the most part. Think we have a lot in common with anyone? I’m with Carrie – I am still waiting for the dear friends that you are. The ones you’ve had for 20 years that are closer than family- though, at this rate I my need to live to be 100 to have them :).I think we have lonely days and that longing, whether for friends, for our boys’ toddler days or to have more in common with others because we don’t really belong here. We were made to have communion with our Creator and to glorify Him constantly, but we are fallen and so we fall short. We haven’t reached our ultimate homes so we have a vacuum. The last two posts remind me of what our pastor has been teaching. Suffering brings us to the foot of the cross. It’s so bittersweet. It’s painful, but in our pain we cry out for Him. His grace to us brings Him glory, which is our very purpose in creation. In that we ultimately find joy. So easy when I’m encouraging someone else to hang in there. Guess that’s why it’s called suffering in all its forms.

  6. Lisa,I am that mom. The mom you describe with friends to discuss baby drama with. However, I still feel lonely at times. Many times. Must be a Mom thing?

  7. This post was beautiful. I am so glad you decided to share it. I think we can all relate to it so easily, but yet we rarely admit how much being a stay at home mom can make us feel so disconnected. I feel that every day.The other day I stated that my preschoolers wear me out during the day but it’s my teenagers that keep me up at night. It’s so true. I have kids going through both things right now and I can definitely say the teenagers are harder. They are the ones that make me question every decision I make. That make me wonder if I have done anything right as a parent at all. Out of respect for their privacy I can’t write about it much at my place, but oh, I know.I love you friend. I wish you lived closer.

  8. Hey friend, I so could have written this. I often (especially lately) long for those pre marriage, pre kid days. I had friends that I made daily contact with to plan our day and were together in everything. Even though I wouldn’t change my life now I so miss the conversations and time spent with them. I guess as we get older and busier it gets harder to develop deep and carefree relationships.But I do want you to know I love you and consider you one of my true friends. (Promise, no hugs):)KC

  9. I feel much the same. And I’m a little bit of a conundrum because I’m 41 with a 2 year old. Most women I know that are my age have older kids, and most women I know with kids my age were kindergarten when I graduated from high school. And I’m a bit of a loner, too.

  10. Your authenticity is refreshing, Lisa. I think we all have that hunger deep in our souls. I’ve had the distinct pleasure of having many close friends throughout my life. But we move so often, I don’t live near any of them at the moment. At one point, a few of us discussed this loneliness. And to some degree, we agreed that it’s an ache for God. To know and be known; it’s the human heart’s cry.

  11. I can really relate to this feeling. Extending myself in true friendship is not always easy for me, even when it appears I have many friends. I find I have inner barriers that can’t be seen, but I know they are there.I find myself in a strange place of having both the three year old and the teenager. My old friends who I hung out with so much when my teenager was small are now so busy with all of the activities of their own teenagers, and yet I find it hard to connect with moms who only have younger children because their stage of life feels so different from mine.Anyway… enough about me. I just wanted to say I understand and I am enjoying reading your blog.

  12. Oh Lisa, I’m so sorry. And I can relate to you, my friend. A few weeks ago, I was sitting in church, and I watched a large group of married couples come into the worship center together and walk up to the front to sit near a family that was dedicating their baby that morning. They were just there to show their support and love. I ended up fleeing the sanctuary, because I had to go into the ladies’ room and cry. I felt so alone, knowing we are not connected in that kind of group, in that way. We have friends, and I certainly have some dear and treasured personal friends, but I longed for that kind of connection. Sigh… I just think everything could be solved if we lived closer together. The guys could do their bike things and we could hit the coffee/book shops. 🙂

  13. Hi Lisa, it’s been a couple of weeks since I visited you here, and I’m so glad I stopped by today. I can completely relate to what you’ve written–I frequently go through periods of lonliness. And nobody knows (except my husband). In fact, I have lots of friends, but I can still feel lonely in a crowd. Must by my own melancholic personality.I like what Kelly wrote, though–I do believe that in times like that we need to focus our eyes above and truly long for the Savior.

  14. I feel the same way at times. I don’t know what happens as we ‘get older’! Friends are still there yet you just don’t get together the same as you used to.We too have had a church ‘change’ and are nearly empty nesters. Life is really different. I’ll be praying that God gives you some answers.Blessings to you,Cindy

  15. Oh, Lisa. There must be so many of us. I can completely relate. I often ask myself, why does God allow this, what is He trying to teach me? Also, I think the loneliness may be more extreme for us mothers of sons. As they get older, the mom eventually gets “excluded from the pack.” Not consciously; it’s just that as they become men, they enter that place in the male world, of which women are not a part. Please come see my blog; there’s a special place there for moms of sons.

  16. I’m just like you in this. I live a gazillion miles from all my family and bff’s. Being a pw and having to live far away is tough.I’m also at the teen mom stage (42) and everyone has “life” going on. I have friends….like you do…but we are all busy.My bff is in TN and she is struggling way more than me in this area. She is on the depressed side. She’s also in ministry (hubby is a pastor that was asked to resign from a church last year). So her heart is broken in more ways than one.Thanks for sharing…..I’m trying to look for joy in the stage that God has me right now.

  17. I feel your tears! For heaven’s sake…I’ve cried them. I live a very isolated life, and while I am often surrounded by tons of people, I am lonely. This past week has been especially challenging. I think what I needed more than anything was just a friend or two to take me to lunch and to share some laughs. Life has been different for us in this pastorate. I love all of our church people but simply don’t have the “kindred friend” that I long for. I think this is why blogging has been so very needful in my life. I’ve met some of the most incredible ladies. It’s our age, too. Really it is. At least that’s what I’m telling myself!peace~elaine

  18. Funny… I stumbled upon you blog accidently. I was reading a friends blog and just happened to follow a link that led me here. Sometimes, I feel the same way you were feeling at the moment you wrote this entry. My children are (uhm) 21, 17, and 14. My babies, can you believe it. We are finished with sports (which makes me a little sad). My oldest lives in another city while going to college, my second child is starting to be away more and more. I, too, feel lonely at times. Others, I am bursting with pride because my oldest daughter is in another city, attending college. She is practically paying her own way. My second daughter away more and more because she is a leader in her junior class. She is successful at almost everything she attemps. My son, although out of sports, was one of only four freshmen boys to make the varsity showchoir at our school. This makes me proud. I look at what I have yet to experience with my chilren and I can’t wait. I have beautiful weddings to plan, grandchilren to spoil, and boyfriends and girlfriends to hate. Then, I think that I should stop living in the past, and stop anticipating the future. I should live for today. Sometimes, I take my own advice and sometimes I don’t. LIfe is good, anyway we look at it. God has blessed me with a wonderful family to love. Thanks, Lisa for sharing your thoughts with us. May God bless you!

  19. I feel your tears! For heaven's sake…I've cried them. I live a very isolated life, and while I am often surrounded by tons of people, I am lonely. This past week has been especially challenging. I think what I needed more than anything was just a friend or two to take me to lunch and to share some laughs. Life has been different for us in this pastorate. I love all of our church people but simply don't have the "kindred friend" that I long for. I think this is why blogging has been so very needful in my life. I've met some of the most incredible ladies. It's our age, too. Really it is. At least that's what I'm telling myself!peace~elaine

  20. I'm just like you in this. I live a gazillion miles from all my family and bff's. Being a pw and having to live far away is tough.I'm also at the teen mom stage (42) and everyone has "life" going on. I have friends….like you do…but we are all busy.My bff is in TN and she is struggling way more than me in this area. She is on the depressed side. She's also in ministry (hubby is a pastor that was asked to resign from a church last year). So her heart is broken in more ways than one.Thanks for sharing…..I'm trying to look for joy in the stage that God has me right now.

  21. I can really relate to this feeling. Extending myself in true friendship is not always easy for me, even when it appears I have many friends. I find I have inner barriers that can't be seen, but I know they are there.I find myself in a strange place of having both the three year old and the teenager. My old friends who I hung out with so much when my teenager was small are now so busy with all of the activities of their own teenagers, and yet I find it hard to connect with moms who only have younger children because their stage of life feels so different from mine.Anyway… enough about me. I just wanted to say I understand and I am enjoying reading your blog.

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