Relational Capacity

June 23, 2008 at 8:23 pm 7 comments

I dropped my two older daughters off at day camp this morning.  They are part of Chicago’s six week park district program, 9-3, everyday, or I guess I should say as much as they want to go.  We’ve never done something like this before so we’ll see how it goes.

This morning after the girls’ hair was brushed to the side, after backpacks were stuffed with bathing suits and towels and water and sun screen, after Polly was dressed in oversized school t-shirt and buckled into her car seat, I looked back at my kids. 

Elaina was grinning ear to ear.  She was literally squealing, albeit under her breath.  She couldn’t wait to get to camp. 

Zoya was quiet.  She has not yet bought in to this whole day camp idea.  This morning before we left we stopped a moment to pray and she asked that we’d pray she’d make a friend.  One friend.

Elaina will eat up the day camp experience.  She is ready to make friends with every child there.  And I bet she does too.  Zoya will be happy to find one girl in her little group.  She will pointedly ask the little girl to be friends and then she will stick closely by this little ally through thick and thin; through the “getting to know you” time, when receiving her new t-shirt for the summer program, as she explores her first camp boxed lunch.

My kids’ relational capacities are significantly unique and completely different.   

And it makes me wonder.  What is my relational capacity?  What was my relational capacity before three children?  Before ten years of marriage?  Before 7 moves and six hours a week of therapy?

Honestly, I am not very good at friendship these days.  Of course I have friends.  I like the people at our church and I try to meet up with them here and there.  I have some great girlfriends from high school who still like me after sixteen years of friendship even though sometimes I don’t communicate with them for months. 

Some neighbors on our street have quietly moved over into the friendship category, not because of time spent together, but simply because I know I could ring their doorbell any time for a cup of sugar or call in the middle of the night if we need to take a kid to the emergency room.

But sometimes at night when S is gone and I am watching something on TV totally embarrassing to admit (like the Bachelorette, I know) a thought will pass through my mind, “boy, it would be nice to call someone right now, just to talk.”

I am not there right now in my life, though.  I am at my limit most days with therapy schedules and camp supplies, bills, cleaning, food, writing, there just isn’t much left for anything or really, anyone else. 

What about you?  How is your relational capacity?  Do you have a lot of friends?  One or two?  None?

Maybe I should invest more of myself in the people around me, people outside of my little nuclear family who are ready to be invested into.

Maybe tomorrow. 


Entry filed under: Chicago, Church, Elaina, Family, Friends, Prayer, Preschool, Therapy, Zoya.

Clarity A hard day’s work

7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. joannmski  |  June 24, 2008 at 2:19 am

    It would be nice to have this kind of friend. But it would also be hard. And sometimes convenience trumps the emotional needs, for me and for others I’d consider being friends with. But maybe that’s just me being afraid no one would want to be my friend.

  • 2. theramblinghousewife  |  June 24, 2008 at 2:20 am

    I’d like to think my relational capacity is o.k. I’m hosting a party at my house Wednesday night–We’ll see if anyone shows up–Then I should know for sure, huh? (lol)

    You’re so right on about being at your limit. I wrote a similar post today about busyness and productivity. There’s just something to do all of the time.

    (And psst. a little secret . . . . .I LOVE THE BACHELORETTE!!!–I DVRed it tonight and can’t wait to watch it!)

  • 3. Meredith  |  June 25, 2008 at 1:10 am

    I read your blog all the time but I rarely comment. Maybe it’s because I’m at my relational capacity?? I find that I have a lot of “online frineds” that I even talk to on the phone, some of them, and less REAL LIFE friends that come and spend time with us or chat on the phone. I think the shift is because online friends are “on my schedule” and if they’re online, they’re available- if not, ok. Yet IRL I have to take the initiative and worry if I’m bothering someone in order to sit and chat. Plus, online I can walk away for 5 min three different times, whereas IRL it would be rude 🙂 Kids do that tho, and THEY come first… You got me thinking tho. Maybe tomorrow…

  • 4. ukrainemom  |  June 25, 2008 at 2:05 am

    Merideth, I do the same thing:). I read all your updates but rarely comment. Tonight I was thinking I would rather my DH be a tire salesman rather than a pastor. I am rambling…

    I would think that with your four beauties, and hospitals and prayers, there’s not much time for anything else. Maybe some day it will slow down.

    I am so thankful for my on-line friends like you.

  • 5. kellyandbennett  |  September 11, 2008 at 1:23 pm

    There are many, many lonely people out there who desperately need a friend. Working for a psychologist, I can tell you firsthand. Four out of five clients state that they have no friends, and don’t get along with family or neighbors. How sad really. Even something so simple as a smile can mean a lot.

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