Easter, and finding what we’re looking for in unlikely places

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It’s been a chilly spring. While it feels like an unusually endless slog, I suspect that this is the usual state of affairs in Michigan because all of the Easter morning egg hunts I can remember as a child were indoors. Maybe it’s just being at the tail end of six months of cold, grey, dreariness, but my spirit has been craving change in a big way. A couple of weeks ago I told Kristin that I’ve been feeling really lonely. Not doing enough to make and cultivate friendships here is finally weighing on me in a way that I can’t ignore. “What kind of friend do you wish you had?” Kristin asked. “Someone creative, to make things with or at least talk about that sort of thing,” I told her.

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It’s not that we haven’t met anyone. We’ve met a number of really lovely people, many of whom we’ve intended to get to know better. The problem is that we don’t follow through. I often think, “when the weather is finally nicer we’ll have them over for a BBQ…” but then the cold continues and my introversion gets in the way and sometimes the thought of having to start at the beginning with someone is just exhausting.

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I asked a faraway friend the other day if I’m a snob because I don’t connect in that meant-to-be way with very many people. “Your introversion isn’t unique,” she said, “I feel the same way. I know pretty quick if people are in or out.” It sounds judgy, but it actually has very little to do with sizing people up, and everything to do with chemistry in a way that I can’t entirely explain. I’ve met a number of smart, funny people I enjoy tremendously, but I miss the kind of close female friendships I had in New York.

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A day or two after I told Kristin that I was feeling lonely I went in search of a new bike trailer for the twins. Our neighborhood has a garage sale coming up so I posted in the Facebook group letting folks know that we’re in the market for a used one. A woman I’ve never met responded, not with a bike trailer, but saying that I should meet her sister who also has young twins and who is new to the neighborhood. It seemed unlikely that those two things would be enough, but I looked her up and reached out. We decided to grab a cocktail downtown on a Tuesday evening, and when she picked me up and came into the house I knew almost immediately. The kids were clamoring for her attention, this stranger in their living room. She and K found something to talk about within seconds while the kids danced around them shouting, “watch me!” and asking to climb her legs.

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More often than not I go into social interactions with anxiety, worrying that there might not be anything to talk about or that things won’t go well, but for whatever reason I had no such concerns. We talked non-stop through two rounds of cocktails and when I got home I told K, “I think this might be my person.”

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When you find something that you’ve been searching for there’s always a sense of relief, the falling away of fear that perhaps you’d never find it at all. But when it shows up in a time and place that you weren’t even looking it’s energizing in a different way, like the joy and surprise of finding a colorful egg in a place it doesn’t belong.

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I loved watching their faces on Easter morning as they hunted for dyed eggs throughout the house. Later in the day (after a mishap in which Vivi re-hid them indoors and we lost one for roughly three hours, certain we’d find it when it started to smell) we took all of the eggs outside and the kids asked us to hide them again and again, the thrill of finding them brand new each time.

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We spent Easter dinner at our new friend’s house, crappy-dinner-party style, and met her husband and kids who are equally lovely. Jonah finally got to watch the Captain Underpants movie, which made his night, and Vivi swooshed around the house with two more Elsas. The four adults sat on the dining room floor drinking wine and talking for probably an hour before moving towards the kitchen, and afterwards Kristin and I talked about how significant that felt to both of us; the intimacy and comfort of sprawling on the floor (right next to a table and chairs) as kids dashed in and out of the circle for snacks.

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Easter is a time of renewal, of beginning again, and I’m feeling hopeful that perhaps the kind of friendships we have scattered across the country will happen here too. Starting over requires patience and a lot of faith that it will all come together eventually, and a hefty dose of gratitude for the good things that come our way.

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