I’m typically a morning person. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to talk to anyone or have any interactions. I want to get up, have a cup of coffee, read a little, write a little - ALONE, but I happen to do some of my best thinking (it’s all relative) in the morning.
So here’s my typical routine in a nutshell: get up before anyone else in the house, go through the day doing what needs to be done, and then watch tv with Paul in the evenings before bed. While we are watching, I will start nodding off, and I tell Paul I HAVE to go to bed. It’s the same every night. I’m falling asleep sitting up.
But something happens when Paul’s out of town. I may watch a little tv, but then I get up and putter. I’m not tired. I don’t go to bed till after 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning. We always joke that like a kid, I need Paul to call and tell me it’s time to go to bed. (You know something’s terribly wrong if there’s a situation where Paul is the adult figure.)
I remember being really surprised at some of the changes that came along with adulthood in the beginning. No one tells you to clean your room, how to spend your money, that you can eat only in the kitchen. No one tells you not to snack or you’ll ruin your appetite. No one tells you what to eat or when to eat, period.
No one tells you when to go to bed, but especially, no one tells you when to get up. I remember one time in college of staying up with friends till 6:00 am, sleeping all day, and being confused because the sun was setting when we left the dorm to get some “breakfast”.
But then comes marriage and family, and you find yourself being the one to set the rules. “It’s time for bed.” “Don’t eat that; dinner will be ready in a few minutes.” The initial shock of it all is unsettling, but by that point you’re so tired usually it just doesn’t matter.
But just recently I’ve had another adulting surprise. Because our kids are older and closer to adulthood themselves, I’m getting to spend more time with old friends than I ever thought was going to be possible again. Last Sunday, Mandy, my college roommate, and I had brunch at High Rock Lake. Our table sat in front of a wall of windows looking out on the lake and the boats. We talked and laughed. No one called us or interrupted us. It felt so incredibly decadent.
There were so many years spent juggling differing schedules that it became easier to text a couple of times here and there than to work hard enough to actually make it in person. And most of the time even if we did find a mutually open day and time, at the last minute some sickness or emergency would scuttle the whole endeavor.
But after many years of waiting patiently, our friendships are being pulled from the shelf, dusted off, and they are as good as new. Maybe even better. And although there have been many changes, and we might not be exactly the same people we were back then, the core is still there, the similarities that drew us together. It feels like our friendship has come full circle, and that might be the best surprise of all.