Wednesday, January 31, 2024

I have friends, I definitely have friends...

There are times in my life when I think I'm pretty awesome. And there are other—and perhaps more frequent—times in my life when, honestly, I don't. Lately I've been feeling unlikable, which I keep trying to talk myself into believing is not true. I think I'm just at a phase in my life where my social circles feel a little depleted. And making new friends is hard! For example, step four in this article on how to make friends as an adult is "assume people already like you." Like that's easy or something.

Andrew reminds me that I have some good neighbourhood mom friends, and that's true. Our neighbours are so, so good. 

And my friend Crystal and I had a wonderful phone chat not too long ago...but it had been forever since we'd talked before that because...we're thousands of miles away from each other...and are quite busy being moms. 

(Man alive! We thought being moms to a bunch of toddlers was busy. No one warned us how busy things would get when those toddlers grew into teenagers and young adults! ...Well, maybe they did warn us, but did we listen? Ha!)

We had dinner with Reid and a new friend of his, which was lovely, and I'm excited to watch that relationship blossom (because it'll mean one more friend for me, right? That's step three of the article "make friends through friends you already have").

I can't ever talk about friends without talking about this song from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (because making friends as an adult (or kid) often feels very much like this):

But this week's most beautiful tender mercy was a little trip my friend Amanda planned to come out for a visit. It has been years since we've seen each other. She hasn't met Alexander or Phoebe and I haven't met either of her children (who go by Prima and Secundo online). That means it's been at least six years, but it's probably been more than that. In the intervening years, she moved to Japan (and sent us the sweetest little "care package" filled with Japanese goodies), had a baby, moved to California, moved to DC, and had a baby. I moved to Spanish Fork, had a baby, and moved to Georgia, and had a baby, and completed my master's degree. It's...been a while. 

Amanda and I first met in seminary, I believe, in high school, when I was in grade 10 and she was in grade 11. She introduced herself as Bubbles, and she was very bubbly. She already loved pandas. And we were both taking Japanese. And we both loved singing and dancing. Later we'd take AP Psychology together. We hung out a lot! 

She was the friend (I say "the friend" because I am sure I've told this story already, but I'm going to tell it again, so buckle up) who wanted to go on a double date in high school—or needed to go on a double date so she could go on a date with this one particular boy (house rules or something)—so asked Andrew to find a date. He called me to see if I wanted to "go play games at Amanda's house," which didn't sound like a date to me, so I said, "Sure—can I bring my brother?"

Because—I don't know why! 

My brother really likes playing games—okay?—and our social circles intersected a lot in high school. He was one of my very best friends, so having him come hang out at friend's house seemed logical. I invited him to stuff all the time, and tagged along to stuff with him (see the point about "making friends through friends you already have"). 

Also, I'm clueless.

Anyway, Andrew was like, "Uh...I guess. I'll pick you up at 7:00?"

And I was like, "Cool," but thought it was a little strange because my brother and I were perfectly capable of getting to Amanda's house on our own. But, whatever. Now we didn't have to ask to borrow the car.

So we got to Amanda's house and I'm so flighty that I start recalling that Amanda had been hoping to arrange a double date. We'd been talking about it in psychology class. She had probably been hoping that I would have said, "Oh, I can find a date!" but I'm not really the "Oh, I can find a date!" type (see the point about "assuming people already like you"). I don't know that I asked anyone out in high school, or college, or ever. 

Good thing there are people in this world who make moves!

Anyway, I thought to myself, "I wonder if Amanda found anyone to go on that double date with her."

And then I looked around the room and saw Amanda and a boy...and Andrew...and me...and my brother...and I realized that I was on that double date Amanda had been trying to plan...with my brother. 

My brother is about as clueless as I am, so I just let him blithely play games all evening and only told him it was supposed to have been a double date after we got home. 

It may have been a little awkward (for me, specifically) when I realized what I'd done, but I don't know that any of that qualifies to make me as particularly unlikeable since three of those four people are still very much a part of my life! Those are pretty good odds.

Anyway, Amanda came out to visit us when we lived in Cairo. I'm sure we rendezvoused in Utah a few times after that (I remember a wedding reception for someone and a party at her house). We we lived in North Carolina, we went to visit her in DC just before she got married. Later we drove down to Atlanta to pick up my mom and to spend the day with Amanda, when they were both in Atlanta for a library conference (we still have the little finger puppets Amanda got for the girls at the puppet museum—they're in our bag of pool toys). Then we visited her in DC again

We like DC, okay? (And should probably try to make it up there before her family moves again).

Then she moved east and we moved west and now here we are, both living on America's east coast again, and all the pandas as are being sent back to China. Amanda posted on Facebook that she was sad about the pandas leaving the National Zoo in DC. She took her family to see them before they were shipped back to China, of course. So...I can't remember how I started the conversation, but—let the record show that sometimes I make the move—I either commented on her post or sent her a private message bragging that we still have pandas in Atlanta (the last pandas in the United States!) and that she could come visit them/us down here!

And—guys!—she did! And it's been wonderful to reconnect and meet her kids and cook together and eat together and visit the zoo and talk and books and life. And just, thank goodness for friends!

I will write about the zoo later, but for now enjoy some pictures of my little ones getting acquainted with Prima. This is a rather quick trip—in on Monday afternoon, a zoo day Tuesday, and out Wednesday afternoon—so Monday evening was filled with downtime at our house, and Tuesday morning may be as well. So here's a bit of our downtime...

Prima and Phoebe "reading" some Daniel Tiger stories together:

And Alexander getting into the shot:

Here I am reading some stories with the kids (Alexander is brooding a bit because he wanted to read a story from the library, but the girls kept wanting more and more Daniel Tiger stories so he had to wait):

Prima was so funny! I asked her and Phoebe if they'd like me to read them the stories in that book, and they said they did. I tried to scoot them apart so I could sit between them because...that's how I read to my own kids if I read to (a pair of) them on the couch—one of either side so they can both see the pictures. But Prima was like, "Ummm...I don't really want to sit by you."

"You just want to sit by Phoebe?" I asked. 

"Yes," she said. 

"But you do want me to read the book, right?"

"Oh, definitely!" she said (her vocabulary is on point).

"Okay, that's fine. We can do it that way," I told her (because I wasn't about to force her to sit next to some strange old lady her mom claims is a friend, but whom she's never seen before in her life).


And here are the kids enjoying some dress ups, lounging, and iPad time after our long walk at the zoo (the zoo is always good at wearing kids (and adults) out). There was a bit of hide-and-seek as well, but we didn't take pictures of that because it would have given all the good spots away!

They're playing on Prima's iPad. These pictures make it appear like my kids were just taking over—and maybe they were a bit (the iPad is always greener when it comes out of somebody else's mom's purse)—but I promise Prima had some turns as well. They were all being really good about sharing and taking turns and cheering on whoever's turn it was to play at any given time.


  1. How fun having your friend and her children visit!

    By the way, I hope my comments the other day about your (possible) weird traits didn't rub you the wrong way, making you think you weren't likeable. Yikes! I felt comfortable commenting the way I did because I count you as a friend, but I understand not everyone reads things the same way. Just wanted to clarify that... :)

    1. Not at all! I count you as a friend as well, am just in a weird in-between social space right now (wherein I complain about being lonely and also admit that I give up opportunities to socialize (in Texas...with people I don't know...)). Hahaha!

  2. Me too! I love everything unusual about you, as well as all the usual things! So glad that Amanda et al could visit you guys! What fun!

  3. You definitely have friends and are likeable and this trip reminded me that I do and am too! So glad we did this!!