I don’t have a lot of tolerance for small talk. I can do it. In fact, pretty well. I once had a 22 minute conversation about throw pillows. I really don’t know anything about throw pillows.
But small talk can leave me feeling empty. I want to feel a connection. I want to know more about people.
In the last few years since we left New York City, I have met many new mom friends. Just using the term “mom friends” makes me feel like I’m in a TV commercial trying to sell you my spring fresh laundry detergent. But I’m truly grateful for these friends because I had some very lonely months when I first arrived in town.
But I often find myself longing for more depth in these relationships. What did these moms do professionally before they stood on the playground waiting for their first grader to come out of school? What do they dream about when they aren’t wrestling their toddler into a down jacket. (The hat and mittens? Ugh. Not even worth the effort.) Are they happy? Did they marry the right person? Do they have a moment they wish they could live over? Are they close to their parents? I want to know their story.
I blog. So for those who read it, my life is on display. Somewhat. But most moms I meet don’t have blogs (And you thought EVERYONE had a blog) so how am I supposed to know them?
I realize it’s not always possible to have deep, involved conversations. Kids interrupt, play dates are waiting and sometimes all we really want to do is complain about the weather and go home. (Ok, it’s been a MILD winter. I’m still sick of it. So there.) But it is so nice when conversations are less superficial and you feel like you are truly getting to know someone.
I was recently talking to a mom from one of my daughter’s classes and she was discussing her role as a step-mom and some of the challenges. I was fascinated. The discussion had meaning. I need more of that.
I guess this is why the death of Jeffrey Zaslow effected me so much. He is a writer and father of three daughters who wasn’t even on my radar screen. But my husband sent me a link to a story about his death in a car accident and I just couldn’t stop reading about this guy.
He is a well known writer, co-authoring books with the former Congresswoman and gun shot victim Gabrielle Giffords, Chesley B. Sullenberger III, the pilot who landed an airplane on the Hudson River and professor Randy Pausch, who delivered the famous “Last Lecture” when he was dying of cancer.
Zaslow was also a columnist for the Wall Street Journal and was so talented at writing about people and the things that mattered. Like when his daughter’s date to the homecoming dance ended up not taking her at all, Zaslow wrote about it. In the Wall Street Journal. Think that kid regretted not taking her to the dance?
But the article was about the importance of raising our sons well and teaching our daughters to settle for nothing less than what they deserve.
As I read through some of Zaslow’s columns, I felt like I truly knew the people he was writing about. I felt like I knew him. I was so touched by his realness.
And I guess, ultimately that’s what I want from my life and my friendships.
Less throw pillows. More realness.