01/23/2006 - 8:14 p.m.


My refrigerator door has a sign on it. The sign reads: "Unopened Apple Juices 16." Day, who likes the idea of soda pop and the idea of lattes but does not really care for either the soda or the lattes, put the sign there to insure that she would never run out of apple juice. Apparently, when you run out of apple juice the day will be so bad that you might as well not get up. Today's sixteen is a very high number but the grocery store had a ten for $10 sale and we just bought them last night. Usually, the number is more like four or five. But what matters is not the number. What matters is the care and planning that goes into making sure that her thirst is properly quenched.

Looking at that sign, I got to thinking. I thought about what I was thirsty for and how I had let the reserves dwindle without taking any action. I have not made or kept enough contacts with my adult friends. I have let connections go.

When my kids were little, it was easy. Kid activities kept me in contact with other women almost effortlessly. When the girls were very small, many play dates involved the children playing and the mothers sitting around, drinking coffee or tea, and discussing lives. Even as the girls grew older, school activities kept me in touch with women other than co-workers. My girl scout moms came on field trips, chatted when picking up their daughters, called to help with programs and talked with me then. But, after eight years, my girl scouts went to high school, became involved with other things, and outgrew the program. Numerous other PTO projects and my school board involvement also meant a lot of chatting with other women.

And then Day hit high school and most of it stopped. Right now, when she is at play practice almost every day, I am there picking her up and other moms are there, but none of us get out of our cars. In any event, many of them are beginning to drive themselves. Our children want us there in our cars, safely out of view. Day dances for hours and neither I nor the other dance moms sit there waiting. The dance students who are left at this level dance for enough hours that we can go back and forth. I coach mock trial at the high school and chat with an occasional teacher but very few parents come, even to our regional scrimmage.

And so, I must make more of an effort to schedule lunches and other times with my women friends. Even though several of us still are trying to keep up with the high school activities of our children, I must arrange times. The friendships that once took little organizational effort will not be there unless I work at them in this new way.

Without this care and attention, the sign on my own personal door will be counting down friends and, without noticing it, it will suddenly read: "Friends 0."

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