Just show up.

Friends, it is time. I wasn’t going to get so heavy here when I’m about 4 seconds into having a blog, but things got really real this week and it’s time to talk about something that’s been on my mind for months.

Friendships were so simple as kids, weren’t they? I don’t remember really ever putting much thought into who my friends were…they were neighbors who played in my backyard, classmates who sang Mariah Carey’s “Always be My Baby” ALL DAY EVERY DAY at recess, and basically anyone who wasn’t a jerk. Maybe it wasn’t so simple for introverted people, but somehow you found the one or two friends who you liked to spend the majority of your time with on the playground. (PS. I labeled you guys as snobby, oops.)

But somehow, as adults, friendships seem so much harder to navigate. How do I find a college roommate? Who do I pick for bridesmaids? Will my husband’s friends like me? We need ‘a couple’ (you know, the double date go-to, which, by the way, is very difficult to find), how do I stay in touch with old friends? Is this friendship worth finding the resolution to a conflict or do I just let it go? Do I keep reaching out to a friend even when she never seems to have time in her schedule for me? Will I fit into this new friend group? What if she doesn’t like me because [insert insecurities here]?

And then I wonder: Why do all of a sudden I have all of these insecurities that simply did not exist ten years ago? And why do so many women around me seem to experience the same? I’m not a sociologist by any means, but I think I can confidently put one cause of insecurity on the list:

We stopped showing up for each other.

Yes. Yes we sure did. I know a pretty fabulous tribe of women who are confident, uplifting, truth tellers, prayer warriors, and pretty much the most awesome group of women I’ve ever known. I want to be besties with all of them, and yet these are the things we lament about:

“I had a housewarming party and nobody came.”

“Nobody showed up to my 22nd birthday party.”

“I’m having a party Saturday and only 2 people have said they are coming, the rest have only said maybe.” (DON’T even get me started on RSVP’ing to things- that’s a soapbox I’ll be stepping up on another day.)

“A friend invited me to lunch, and 45 minutes later she hadn’t shown up yet. She texted me and said she forgot about it.”

There were lots more equally sad examples (including people who flaked on kids’ birthday parties. I can’t even. That’s a whole new layer for another day.), but one friend perfectly summed up the reason I’m writing all this. She said:

I’m tired of feeling like I’m not worth showing up for.”

Boom. Now I know, we have to give our “best yes” because Lysa Terkeurst said so and we have to have our boundaries because Brene Brown told us to and we need to practice self-care because everybody says so and oh, we’re introverted and can’t do all the things and it’s okay if we skip because we are extroverted and surely so and so will understand if something better came along. Can we just take a second and put on a different pair of perspectacles?

I want you to show up for the little things so that I know you’ll show up for the big things.

 Let that sink in for a minute. The little things are: the birthday parties, barbecues, girls’ nights, that Pampered Chef party where you SO do not need another kitchen gadget, the coffee date, the play dates, the housewarming party, the baby shower, the bridal shower, the graduation, the lunch date, that service project. Pretty much to everything on that list I say “mmm no thanks, I have better things to do”, but I’m convinced each of those things are building blocks to better relationships.

Showing up for the little things whispers ‘I’m here for you.”

Showing up for the little things says “I believe you are worth it.”

Showing up for the little things says “I will lay down my precious time for you.”

Because at some point, the little things become the big things. The birthday parties turn into days of sorrow when a child is taken too soon. The girls’ nights become a miscarriage and needing some friends to help heal. The Mary Kay party becomes a prayer session for a friend whose marriage is in trouble. The housewarming party becomes a gathering to grieve with a newly widowed friend.

Do you see the connection?? I hope so. When the heartaches come, (and believe me, they sure as heck will) I want to know who my people are. I don’t want to wonder which of my friends might show up in time of need- I want to know who’ll drop everything without a second thought to stand in the gap for me. I think we all want to know the same.

Who can you show up for this week?

Family Vacation

We’ve got a family vacation coming up.

Wait, what?? Who’s idea was it to ever put the words “family” and “vacation” together in the same sentence, let alone make the phrase worthy of a Wheel of Fortune puzzle?

My idea of a vacation: Wake up at leisure and make my way unhurriedly to an airport. Fly somewhere tropical. Sit on the beach and take dips in the ocean. Repeat for 5 or 6 days, return home.

What “family vacations” are really like: If you’ve ever seen Doomsday Preppers, it’s about a half-step below that. Lay out every single piece of clothing your family members own. You clearly don’t need ALL the clothing, so you pack minimally: 1 outfit per day, plus a spare outfit or two- per day. Plus swimming trunks, rain jackets, cardigans, sandals, long johns, snowsuit, and boots- you just don’t know what the weather’s gonna do. Find a dog sitter. Maybe a house sitter. Pray the plants don’t die while you’re gone. Clean the house (why? We don’t really know. I personally like all my vacation junk to blend in with the normal junk when we return). Write instructions for the dog sitter. Clean out the car. Pack snacks. Eat the snacks and resolve to pick up more on your way out of town. Figure out sleeping arrangements. Resolve to co-sleep after hitting the road and realizing the pack ‘n play never made it to the car. (Did I mention how romantic family vacations are?) Answer all the questions from the hubby: Did you pack my sunglasses? Did you bring diapers? What about floss? Do you have any Tylenol? I need some Tylenol. Do you have the checkbook? Did you shut all the windows? Should we fill up now or can we wait? (Meanwhile his jobs are done. Brush teeth: check. Find car keys: check. Ready for vacation.)

THEN the actual vacation begins: When is it nap time? Please let me find food the children will eat. Oh you don’t want to ride in the stroller ever? Let’s walk at a snails pace everywhere. Let’s go get ice cream. Just kidding, we should have a tantrum for no reason first. Spend 4 minutes at the beach. Find shelter during thunderstorm. Is it bed time yet? Repeat for 5 or 6 days. Then jam everything into the car with fingers crossed nothing’s been forgotten and head home.

So for the sake of our sanity can we just not call it family vacation anymore? We can just call them trips. That way, we have no unrealistic expectations, we lower the possibility of disappointment, but still leave room for pleasantly surprising fun. After all, trips CAN be fun. Like when everyone is in the car. And all the children are asleep.