Weekly check ins. This is what Champagne Sundays are all about.
I have become wonderful friends with my next door neighbor and each Sunday we get together on the front porch and have champagne from my vintage champagne glasses and discuss the week we’ve had and the one coming up. We celebrate our wins and we dissect our losses.
We are at different stages in life – she has a little and I am five minutes away from an empty nest. I have about 10 years on her but I haven’t really noticed. I think at some point, in adulthood, friends are friends without regard to age.
I love my neighborhood. I am surrounded by homes that have stood for more than 100 years, including mine. My house has now stood through two pandemics and multiple wars. Several families have been raised here and these rooms have been filled with love, laughter, sorrow, and just the everyday joys and mundanities of life. Several decades ago, stting on the front porch in the twilight hours was the entertainment of the day. Folks visited with each other and relationships were the focus of life. No television. No internet or virtual anything. It was all about face to face relationship building. And I bet they didn’t even know it – it just was.
It is becoming more and more clear to me in my life that it is my people who are my everything. Maybe it is because I am about to lose my last child to the university life that is making me hyper aware of how quiet my house is when I am here alone. Maybe it is having my boys home with me again, all of my people here under my roof, that has me so aware of how much I have missed them and how fleeting this time is – that this is most likely the last time in my life I will have all of my babies living with me for any significant period of time. After this school year I will get visits, not children living in my home.
Maybe it is missing the relationships I built at work over 11 years while I am building new relationships with some really fun people in this new position.
Or maybe it’s all this change in my life that has me craving the connection with friends. Who knows.
What I do know is that at the end of the day when only 85 of the 2000 things have been marked off the list; when I have successfully completed anything, really; the only things that I will truly remember a month, a year, 10 years from now, are the memories I make with my people. I have no idea whether I cleaned the house last Tuesday, but I do remember having dinner at a friend’s house while she so graciously shared some sound financial advice and experience. I cannot remember one day last year where I went to bed feeling like I had completed everything that needed to be done – but I also can’t remember what those things were. I do remember some very pleasant conversations with my ex (which I now treasure), some heart to hearts with wonderful teenage people, advice from dear friends, laughing on my birthday. I remember the people and the memories made with them.
I also realize I am replacable at work. I did a lot. I had a lot of hats. I took on more than the average chief. But, since leaving the position, those jobs are being absorbed. Someday I will retire even. And, although you can be sure that I hope I have made a difference, I hope I continue to receive messages like one I got today from a former student sharing some of her brilliant writing with the message “Some writing I’ve done recently. I owe my skills to you. I miss you,” I am also fully aware that I am not destined to make some sort of name a building after me kind of impact. I made a difference on a more individual level. I miss her, this student. But I miss the connection that we formed when we bonded over Henry David Thoreau in her 10th grade English class several years ago. I miss having life changing conversations with teenagers who have minds open to every possibility under the sun. This wonderful young woman changed my life as much as maybe I changed hers. The ability to grow intellectually through conversation – it is the lifeblood of a good life!
Now I am not at all hating on technology. I have a love affair with all things tech, actually. And I fully advocate for the use of tech and participating in social media and all that. It’s one of the ways I stay in touch with my college roommate or see what my sister (who always lives a country or two away) is up to. Use the tools available to keep up the relationships with the people you love.
Our Champagne Sunday talks are almost always about the people in our lives, not the tasks. I encourage you to start your own Champagne Sunday, or supper club, or girls’ night out, or even a vacation with your favorite people. Spend your time where it really counts, on relationships, on people. Do not get bogged down by your to do lists and the mundanities. Live! Share! Be vulnerable with your people. Share your love – it is an infinite pool that grows and grows if you let it.