She knew that she had a tendency to allow her mind to wander, but surely that’s what made the world interesting. One thought led to another, one memory triggered another. How dull it would be, she thought, not to be reminded of the interconnectedness of everything, how dull for the present not to evoke the past, for here not to imply there.”
-Alexander McCall Smith, The Novel Habits of Happiness
I mentioned in my previous post, that my feelings on grief are evolving and complicated. This is sort of related to that, sort of an expansion of it, sort of barely related at all. And it’s the sort of thing that makes me wonder at how everything is interconnected.
In my freshman year of college, a couple of friends felt it was time for them to “come out.” I realize now that my reaction probably wasn’t as supportive as it would be now. Not being in such a situation, I didn’t quite understand the enormity of such a thing. I’m afraid that in one instance my friend was quite nervous, and had been very serious when he had asked me to meet him. (To be honest, we were supposed to meet in my town, but when he asked me to meet him elsewhere, my first worry was that something terrible had happened, that had made him unable to travel. Having recently had an acquaintance be arrested, my thought went there, and I wondered if conditions of bail wouldn’t let him travel to the next county. Which is ridiculous, because I can’t for the life of me figure out what he would do to be arrested for in the first place. Dear Husband is not kidding when he says I can be irrational from time to time.) I believe my response was something along the lines of, “Whew! I’m glad it’s just this, and not something bad!” Another friend’s coming out was responded to with a shrug, and “Okay. Where shall we go for dinner?” I am wincing at that response, even as I type it.
A dear person close to me just expressed that she wasn’t sure if it was okay for her to still be asking for support after the death of her husband, six months ago. My reaction was better this time, I hope. I told her I was flattered. And, I am.
Because I learned from my kids. Children really do teach us lessons, don’t they? That’s one of the the things I should add to the Mommy Rule Book: Don’t Forget to Learn From Your Kids.
And all they had to do, was sleep.
This precious little thing, sleeping on my lap. Whole naps, snuggled against me. I was quite content to hold my babies for their whole naps, to be a comforting, safe place.
To be a safe place. What a revelation! To be a safe place. It came to me, slowly, that people can be safe places, and that we can be safe places for grown-ups, too.
I was not, by far, the first person any of my friends came out to. I am not the only person supporting my friends and family in rough times. And I am so glad, because we all need many safe places. (As nice as it is, Mommy can’t hold you for every nap, child!) Thank you for considering me one of your safe places.