Waiting for a good year…

9 Jun

Our second son, E was born in January of this year so obviously there are some very good reasons to like this year but to be honest, C and I can’t wait until 2010 is over.

We started the year with some devastating news about the failing marriage of one of our dearest couple friends. After 10+ years of marriage, they’ve decided to split. We don’t know if (but lately the question seems to be “when”) they will formalize the separation or actually get back together. Sometimes there seems hope for reconciliation and other times, it feels like watching a beautiful home crumble into a rock pile.  It’s hard not knowing what will happen to our friends and sometimes I wish I could fast forward the time to 1 – 2 years from now. Our friends have been together far longer than many others I know. Their love and marriage was what made me want to be part of a couplehood. Back when I was single and C wasn’t anywhere in sight, I spent a lot of my weekends at their home, crashing their “date nights.” I was there when 2 of their kids were born and my friend was my biggest help during the first two years of motherhood. So watching this separation is like watching a loved one fight a losing battle with cancer.

Of course, there’s no time machine for going forward or backward in time so we can’t do anything but wait, which is probably the hardest thing to do in a painful situation.

Tonight I bottled a second batch of umeshu, plum wine. This is a popular DIY project in Japan every spring when green plums appear on trees. The ingredients are simple – just 3 things – fruit, rock sugar, and alcohol. Separately the 3 ingredients aren’t very good. The fruits are hard and sour, the sugar is too sweet, and the alcohol…well, let’s just say, it puts hair on your chest.

But you mix everything together, leave it in an undisturbed corner, and in about a year’s time, the mixture will turn into this fragrant, nectar-like wine. If you can wait a few more years, the result will be even better.

The first time I had some homemade umeshu was back during when I was studying in Japan. Before the end of my program, one of the Japanese teachers invited us to her home and she served us a batch she made herself. I can’t remember how old that batch was but I’m guessing at least 2 – 3 years. So when she made it, she probably didn’t know who she would eventually share the wine with…

I’m not sure what is going to happen to our friends but I’m praying hard.  I am hoping that a good year will come eventually. And when it does, I’ve got a nice bottle of homemade umeshu to toast with.

5 Responses to “Waiting for a good year…”

  1. TY July 21, 2010 at 1:51 am #

    prob easier said than done, but try not to let what happened to your friends affect you. use their experience as a reminder that you’ve got a great family & is surrounded by love. count your blessings everyday for what you have. i am sure you & charlie will get through whatever obstacles that come your way as long as you realize what marriage is all about.

    • jenjapan August 21, 2010 at 5:14 am #

      Thanks TY.

      You know, a lot of people probably think that marriage is the “end” and things are “happier ever after” but the truth is, all relationships take work.

      Unfortunately, after having kids, it’s hard to devote the same kind of energy/time to working on the marriage as before…so we’re focusing on resolving tensions as they arise…rather that let them build up over time…anyway, we can talk more about this off line sometime.

  2. christina March 9, 2011 at 3:43 pm #

    I know it is too easy to say as a bystander. It takes love and understanding to make the relationship work. The most important is not to hide the feeling or not talk about it. That will only make it worse. Childredn will grow so fast that before you know it, they already go to college. You are empty nester again with your spouse again. God has its way set for us no matter the outcome of your friends will be. You can see it at the moment but I am sure when you look back in life, you will understand why.

    • jenjapan March 9, 2011 at 9:37 pm #

      Christina – thanks for your encouragement. Yes, I believe that a lot of times we don’t understand the heartache and hardship we experience until later. I think the hardest thing about this situation is that I felt that I should and can do something about it. In the end, my “friend” only wanted support and a shoulder to lean on, which is the best and least I can do. So that’s what I’m focused on now. At the same time I try to manage my own emotional flood so that my own little family won’t be affected. For a while, their situation was weighing both C and I down but once we started talking openly about how it affects us, we are able to “lay down” our emotional/spiritual burdens each time…which has helped.

  3. christina March 10, 2011 at 2:51 pm #

    Please check your mailbox. I just sent you one mail.

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