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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I am a friend......

As far as friends go....I have to tell you---my luck has been incredible. I can't tell you the joy and comfort and happiness and inspiration and motivation and fun and love and adventure and laughter and confidence and compassion and care and oh the list could go on and friends bring to my life. There's not a day that is not touched by a friend. I mean, each and every day. Each and every day. It happens. Pretty great....isn't it? Yeah, I think so!
The other day, something occurred to me-- I'm so busy giving enormous thanks for what my friends bring to my life that I often don't stop to think about what my friendship brings to theirs. I guess I have to be reminded. It's not that they don't tell me. In fact, I've got the cards and notes and memories of conversations that do. But, still....even though I always hear sweet, supportive and encouraging words from my friends, I am so spoiled by their constant care that I don't really take in what they are saying. I hear their words and when I hear them...I do get it. But, when it really comes down to it--I don't really hear what my friendship gives to them.

However, this past weekend I really got it. Because it meant something just a little bit more. Why? Because it touched my life in a way that it never did before. It made me think about my child.... Toni. And, as we all know...when it touches our children....we get it.

Here's what happened....

At lunch with my dear sweet college roomie friend, Cheri---she gave Toni a graduation card. Inside the card was this message.....
Good luck to you at college! May you find a person who will make your college years memorable and wonderful and who will bring joy to your life forever. That's what happened to me when I met your mother! I hope there's a JC out there for you!

(BTW--JC is me!!!)

Toni read the card and smiled. Then, she handed it to me. Sensing my emotion, Cheri shook her head "you know how it is when you leave home for the first time", directing her comment to me. Yes, I did remember those first few weeks and months. "You need a very special friend," she told Toni. "Your mother was that friend for me." I laughed a little--to hold off the tears. In that very instant, I was overwhelmed with thanks that I was that person for my dear sweet Cheri. I just never knew. It felt so good to know I had given her that great gift.

It brought me back to
that moment I met the elevator on the 6th floor of Clyde we said good-bye to our parents. Both of us tearing up. We were an unlikely pair. She--in her yellow and white striped top, her worn Levi's and her Sewickley shoes. Me in my just-as-worn Levi's, my red Bruce Springsteen t-shirt and my red, cork platform clogs. She--with her Homecoming Queen blonde beauty looks with a zucchini bread in hand and me with my black eye liner, frosted blue eye shadow and pack of Salems. She wanted a cup of tea and I wanted a joint. Girls who would never be friends. And, yet....we became the best.
I opened a whole new wild world for Cheri and she gave me a world that felt safe. That is what I needed...even though I never knew it. My father often said...."if it wasn't for wouldn't have made it through." He saw her as my saviour from a life of being a wild child. It made me laugh at the time. Yet, I knew, in my heart that I adored Cheri so much that I did work harder to be as good as she. Interestingly...a few years back when I told her that--she laughed at the thought--telling me that she secretly wished she could be more "wild" like me because she knew she had it in her. At that, I reminded her that I saw her wild side a few times. And, that's when she reminded me that the only reason why her "wild side" came out was because she felt safe exploring it with me. I'm not sure if that's good or bad. But, she seemed pretty happy a few years back when I drove 8 hours...trapsed mud across her new white carpet (only because I was so excited to see her) the night before her wedding carrying a red nightie and a few other items in a pretty wrapped box....
I am not sure if we would have ever been friends or not if it wasn't for happenstance. But what I do know is that if it wasn't for our friendship... life would be so different. She would have never known about bongs. I would have never known about yellow roses.

So, on that Sunday in July 2009.....33 years later....2 unlikely friends sat sipping wine (me) and water (her) telling my daughter the many stories of our adventures at college. The G-rated versions, of course.

As I drove home--I found myself praying that Toni finds a friend like me.
A G-rated version, of course.

here's a pix of my dear sweet Cheri and I at lunch.....
(we look exactly the same as we did 30+ years ago!)
and here's Cheri with Toni.
A beautiful site indeed.

Oh, the circle of life and friendship.


Debbie said...

Oh, you are so right...when it touches our child we get it...
Beautiful tribute to a beautiful day!

Kathy said...

What a wonderful story of friendship and love. You are one lucky lady. Oh, and you look awesome too.

Eileen, Founder, Organizer, Mayor and Chief Cook And Bottle Washer of the Anger Management Girls. said...

Again, how weird that I would read this today.
I am sitting here waiting for my college rommie and best friend to get here.
She lives in NC and is headed through Pittsburgh on her way to Rochester. (where she is from)
She is staying with me for tonight and heading up to Rochester in the morning.
We have probably seen each other only about 20 times in the last 30 years.
We talk all the time and she still knows more about me than any person on this earth!
She survived Liver Cancer, Brain tumors and much more.
She always says she should have been dead years ago, but God is keeping her alive for some reason.
I tell her it is so she can be my best friend and get me through life.
Can't wait for Kitty to arrive in the Burg!