Thursday, May 17, 2012

Life Lessons from a Friend

Yesterday I had one thing to do...drop an e-card to a friend and wish her a Happy Birthday. It was the least I could do, how embarassing for a card maker, to forget a special day for a friend. Oh I knew it was approaching, but the urgency was crowded out by other things and then the memory thing....I too am getting older, and it just never got done.

Our friendship extends to our childhood...now approaching that half century mark. Though not as close as we once were, we do keep in touch from time to time, with Christmas cards, emails or birthday cards and she is thought of often.  As I think of her tonight there are some life lessons I've  learned from her I'd like to share with you.

  • It was okay to dream about getting married one day by playing dress up in her mother's wedding dress. As a little girl I never thought anyone would want to marry me, so I dared not dream of it often. Playing upstairs in her house on a sweltering hot summer day with the Wedding March being ta-dummed is a special memory for me.
  • Long hair was way cool! Her hair was straight and very long.  I still remember when she got it all cut off!  My forced pixie cuts were a curse! Seriously...who wants to look like their brother? When I finally was allowed to let my hair grow, I was never able to get mine as straight as hers, not even by using an iron. I didn't see the blessing curly hair was at that age, it just did it's own thing. Now my hair is very long, but still not straight and it is rapidly turning snow white.
  • Having a dream is important. Her dream was to become a writer one day. She had notebooks with stories she had begun and she would often talk about our collaboration on a book. She would write it and I would illustrate it for her. I too, had aspirations of writing one day, but that was my secret. I thought by speaking of my dream, maybe she wouldn't attain hers, or it wouldn't be as special for her to dream it. I was content to be a part of hers and put pictures to her imagination. Maybe one day that will still happen, but if not, it was enough to dream. 
  • Life is precious. It is sacred. As a teen I wasn't a news junkie, or very politically aware at the time, but it was her who told me all about Roe v. Wade and what it all meant when that decision came down from the Supreme Court. I was horrified. She was firm in her opposition, I was just appalled that such a thing could happen. For me, it became the beginning of educating myself and others, encouraging them to make better choices in life and at the polls. I've  kept my hand in many pro-life efforts over the years, including a March for Life in DC with my four month old baby in a backpack just to make a stand. We travelled overnight in a bus to be there bright and early, it was the craziest thing I had ever done...at that point of my life. (be sure to watch 180 the movie...see my side bar)
  • Time and distance can be erased by a phone call to express condolences, and share a friend's sorrow. She was one of the first to call when my husband passed away. It had been years since we had talked, but in a single moment that changed, calling to say "I don't know what to say" said so much more than you could imagine. I will never forget that simple gesture. 

As adults I don't know how much we do have in common anymore as we've both gone our own ways and lived our lives. It has been that reaching out on special occasions to say "I'm thinking of you" that have been enough to keep alive some very precious memories. So, forgetting to make time to make a card and send it, or post an e-card and let the modern version be a substitute makes me realize it's time to get some priorities rearranged. This post is a poor substitute for a Birthday greeting...but Happy Belated Birthday, dear friend, many more.


My dear friend and my brother (yes, even my kids had to ask) and our dog.


with love,
an






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