I assembled the Christmas cards this weekend with mingled emotions. Excitement about reaching out to friends and family living far away, sorrow over modifying names and addresses for splits or losses, and bewilderment over addressing and stamping a horde of white envelopes destined for friends living within a square mile of us. Despite close proximity to neighbors and dear friends of fourteen years, a stamp is required to get the card into their mailbox and the short update note is a must because we haven't seen many of these folks over the last year or two. The crazy busy-ness that plagues our lives - especially in December - means that friends living one street over have no idea where Aden applied to school or that William now drives (cautiously and with a permit).
In early days when kids were play-date and preschool-bound, our mothers' groups, rec league basketball games,drink nights, book clubs, running groups and church studies filled parents' days or evenings and kept us sane. Now that the kids are easier, we somehow interact much less. I still have drink nights, book clubs and neighborhood fellowships on my calendar but can rarely get to them due to carpools and meets, kid concerns and sheer fatigue. (See gratitude over our breakthrough on Thanksgiving, entry from November.)
Another sign of time passing - our use of the app TaskRabbit where before we could have just called on friends. For example, we need our large washer and dryer moved before we re-tile the entryway next week. I asked around, wondering if some friends (or their large teenage sons) might be able to help, and heard the following concerns: "carpal tunnel, recently repaired shoulder, bad back, bad knee." I completely sympathize since Rob and I have similar physical restraints. We have no wish for anyone to end up in the ER this close to Christmas! And so we rent the job out to a qualified stranger, when two decades ago we would have done it ourselves and one decade ago we would have had a party of friends to help.
But despite the changes, aging and busy-ness, we still share connections and by hook or by crook will still give and get our updates. I hear that life calms down in the next decade, when perhaps we can get back to drinks and debates, if not moving heavy furniture.