Saturday, April 28, 2007

"Simply" Maria

As the saying goes, some people come into your life for a reason, a season, or for a lifetime. Like most people, I have had experiences with all three. I used to think that “lifetime” friends were those that I’ve had...well...most of my life. But I was fortunate to meet some great women in my 30’s that I know will be part of my life for many years to come. My dear friend Maria E., or “Simply Me” as she’s known in the blogging world, is one of them (she should not be confused with the “other” Maria from “S.E., Baby!” fame—I have two “best Maria’s” in my life)!
My "Marias"--Maria E., Maria P. and me...the infamous "chin" picture--yikes!

I can remember the first day of school back in 1997, walking my son into his kindergarten class and feeling a little melancholy that my youngest was now in grade school. Having been through this experience before with my daughter, however, my emotions were in check and I felt confident that he was going to have a great day as I left the class. On my way out, I noticed a very pretty woman leaning over to peek into the room—and she had eyes filled with tears.

“Are you alright?” I asked her quietly. “Yes, I’m fine,” she replied as she wiped away tears from one eye, and then the other. “I’m just emotional today…this is my only son, and I can’t believe he’s in kindergarten already! I just hope he’ll be okay.” I told her that I knew what she was feeling, and assured her that he would be fine. We introduced ourselves and spoke briefly through her sniffles. From that moment on she became one of my closest friends. In addition, our sons became best friends as well, and are still close to this day!

We’ve seen each other through good times and bad, and our relationship has grown to the point where we can finish each other’s sentences. I’ve learned so much from her, and I value her opinions because she’s so intelligent—not only on a “textbook” level, but on a spiritual level as well. When I’m struggling with an issue, she’s always there with good advice that reasonable, supportive and fair.

On a recent, beautiful Sunday morning, we played “phone tag” as I tried to respond to a message she had left about creating a blogroll. When she finally got in touch with me, she was in her car on her way to Homegoods, which is actually more like a “Super Marshalls” with more...well, home goods. She asked if I would like to join her and I jumped at the chance, still being on the lookout for my rooster clock and all. We were both “kid-free” that weekend, which made for a clean getaway on both of our parts with no hassles. I got into my sweats, threw on a baseball cap to hide my makeup-less face, and jumped into her car. We decided that we needed some tea from 7-11, got it, and then set out on our 15 minute drive to the North Shore.

Our conversation in the car went from the kids to our husbands to how we both knew spring was in the air. We delighted in the sounds of the different bird calls that we could hear from the open windows, and laughed at the fact that we could get so deeply into a conversation about something as trivial as birds. I started to speak about living in the country and she finished my sentence for me in unison with my exact thoughts. Amused and chuckling, we told each other how thankful we were that we decided to just spend some time together at the last minute, since we are both usually so busy.

Me and Maria at her country home in PA

As we walked into Homegoods, I veered over to the right and immediately found the perfect rooster clock. As a matter of fact, they had rooster everything, so I engrossed myself in picking out the perfect additions to my soon-to-be rooster kitchen. Maria was carefully choosing the perfect bargain, and after about a half-hour of shopping separately, we both ended up in the bath and beauty aisle. Showing me a scented lotion, she started to tell a story; almost as if she were not just telling me, but the two customers around us as well (she’s very friendly and entertaining like that).

As she finished her story, a man’s voice spoke out: “Hey, Lady! Do you come here often?” We looked up to see my ex-husband standing there with a smirk on his face. Ironically, he was passing by Homegoods on his way home from church, and decided to stop in with not only my children…but Maria’s son Jonathan as well! Jon had had a sleepover with my son at my ex’s house the night before, and went to church with them (Maria was unaware of this because it was her ex’s weekend, too). Our kids were laughing out loud that we all happened to be in the same store at the same time—and we thought it was pretty coincidental as well!

Jon, Kayla and Dylan at Jon and Dylan's 8th grade graduation

We all chatted for a little bit, and then my ex left with all of the kids. Maria and I went to the checkout with our treasures, and decided that we wanted to stop into Au Bon Pain next door for a snack. On the way in, we started talking about what we usually eat for breakfast and at the exact same time, we both blurted out that we bought Trader Joe’s Blueberry Oatmeal during the week! We stopped and stared at each other with our mouths open in disbelief…then we cracked up. On our way home, we took a back road and I mentioned to Maria that we were going to pass my very favorite house in our town. She said that she knew exactly what house I was talking about, and queried if it was the beautifully restored, old Victorian with the wraparound porch. Of course, it was…and once again, we laughed at how much we think alike!

I am so thankful for my dear friend Maria. She “gets” it, and has helped me to “get it” over the years as well. She understands how the simplest, smallest things can bring one joy—like our excursion to Homegoods—and her enthusiasm for understanding the deeper meaning of life is infectious. She has the ability to build people up, and treasures everyone in her life for their quirky qualities. She never speaks badly about anyone, which is the quality of a true friend; I know when I walk out of her door, she only has kind things to say about me, and would never gossip behind my back. I love her to pieces, and I thank God that He brought such a special person into my life.
Me and Maria at my daughter Kayla's Sweet 16, December 2005

...you can visit Maria at her blog...

25 comments:

Carine said...

what a wonderful story Lisa! In today's world of friendships coming and going that you are fortunate to have one so deep and consistent!

Summer said...

Very nice post about your best friend! i enjoyed reading! and thank for the link to her blog...interesting to read and look around it. have a great day!

Lisa said...

Carine,

Yes, I do feel very fortunate to have the dear friends that I do! And they all get along, which is even better! Not having too much family around, my friends have become wonderful surrogates!

Lisa said...

Summer,

Thank you so much for stopping by! Maria just started her blog not too long ago, so check in again sometime soon for more posts! She's a great person (and she thought your grandkids were your kids)!!

Take good care,
Lisa

Loving Annie said...

I love your new look/masthead, Lisa ! Very pretty !

Good friends are truly precious... It sounds like you and Maria are wonderful gifts in each-others' lives...

Smiles to you this Sunday,

Lisa said...

Annie,

I've been working on it all morning, I saw that someone (which turned out to be you) left a comment right in the middle of all my editing...it was really messed up at one point, so I'm not sure what you saw!

I don't know what my life would be without my friends. I have truly been blessed in that area, and I really should thank God more often!

Take good care,
Lisa

Betty said...

Dear Lisa,

This post turned out beautifully, so all your effort was well worth it! A friend like Maria certainly deserves such a tribute. I've had friends like that in the past- I vividly recall when my best friend at age 7 knew exactly what I was thinking when I pointed to a wooden fence. (It made us both think of horseback riding, even though neither of us had ever done it!) And reading this reminded me that I was planning to call my best friend from high school today- she still lives in upstate NY. I often wish she lived closer!

One of the reasons you are blessed with such good friends is because you know how to appreciate them, I'd say. The act of appreciating sets the stage for more blessings.

Hugs,
Betty

Helen Burton said...

Hi Lisa:

How lucky you are to have such a close and beautiful friendship. One of my close friends told me her father always said, "That you are very lucky if you can count your real friends on one hand."

Thank You!
Helen

Big Dave T said...

I've visited Maria's blog. She seems like she's led a very interesting life; I imagine she would be entertaining to listen to.

I was at Trader Joe's myself today. We love their frozen fish.

Some day I'd like to hear the call of the barred owl in the wilds. That's one birdcall I think I could recognize.

Lisa said...

Betty,

The funny thing about posting this with all of the pictures was that I loved every second (or should I say "hour"?) of it...even though it was very time-consuming!

I do appreciate all of my friends, and over the years there have been some that were extremely close to me, but for on reason or another, we didn't remain that way. No fights, no stress...we just drifted away from each other. I guess those were my "season" friends! Some of them turned out to be "reason" friends as well. But my lifetime gals are just the best, and I'm very fortunate to have them!

Take good care,
Lisa

Lisa said...

Helen,

Your friend's dad was very wise! When I think about it, I have a lot of friends...but my "lifetime" girls--who I trust with all of my heart--are definitely countable on one hand! I am very lucky indeed.

Take good care,
Lisa

Lisa said...

Dave,

Thank you for stopping by--I always smile when I see that you've been here, and you've had to read another "girlie" post of mine!!

Funny you should mention TJ's frozen fish...we purchased their frozen wild salmon and lobster ravioli last week, and I made both last night for dinner! I served the ravioli with a vodka sauce, and I put olive oil, sea salt, pepper, lemon and Greek seasoning on the fish, and then topped it with bread crumbs mixed with butter and I broiled it. Oh. My. Goodness. YUM!!

This morning I printed up a list with pictures of common backyard birds found on LI. Now I have names for all of the beautiful birds who've been frequenting my bird feeder! I'm just hoping the Baltimore Oriole comes back this year. He made an awesome hanging nest on my front yard maple last year and it was a real treat!

simply me said...

Li - I could cry....my life would not be complete without you and your family in it. Thank you for your kind words and friendship. I love you and you are right whenever I speak of you its with a big smile and to tell all just how truly wonderful you are. I "get you" and "you get me" (is that a song?) I am sure you know the lyrics. Whether I am here, Italy or PA, I always think of you and can't wait to talk to you on the phone.
You are one of my greatest treasures. BTW - thanks for making me sound so good, next time I have a bad day I will just go to this blog, LOL.

Mark said...

You are very blessed to have such a wonderful freind, soul mate in your life!

Lisa said...

Maria,

...And I meant every word. Love you!!

xo

Lisa said...

Mark,

Yes, I am. Especially since we met only about nine years ago...I'm so thankful!

Take good care,
Lisa

Kacey said...

Sometimes we can love friends more than relatives, because they choose to stay loyal to us. Both of your Marias sound like wonderful women, but I imagine that is because you are really wonderful yourself! Now, I have to go over and read "Simply Me". Always one more terrific blogger to add to the list!

Lisa said...

Kacey,

I think it's just a matter of how loyal we are to our friends. I'm pretty sure my friends know how important they are to me, and that I'll always be there for them! And you're absolutely right; my friends have become closer than some of my own family. At least we can choose them... ;)

Maria's blog is very new, but she's had an interesting life! She's really enjoying the "blog scene", so I'm sure she'll be posting for a long time!

Take good care,
Lisa

Desiree said...

What a wonderful friend you have there Lisa! I have a friend like that who thinks like me and we finish each others sentences without even thinking about it. There is just something so rare and so special about that kind of friendship!

Lisa said...

Desiree,

You're right, and I feel so sorry for those who've never experienced it. I don't know where I'd be without my friends!

Take good care,
Lisa

Matty said...

Lisa,
What would we do without our girlfriends? They keep us grounded. With them we can be ourselves...we don't have to put on airs....they are their when we need them. Nothing like friends to grow old with.
What a lovely pic of you and Maria.

Lisa said...

Matty,

I know that with my nearest, dearest, "best-est" friends, I can truly be myself, and not put on airs. I'm not sure that I can say that about every one of my acquaintances! That's why my friends are so special. We love each other for who we are, good and bad!

Take good care,
Lisa

Helen Burton said...

Hi Lisa:

Just wanted to say hello. Helen

Loving Annie said...

Hi Lisa ! How are you doing ? what's new with you ? Happy Thursday !

Summer said...

Lisa, Happy Mother's day!!
Enjoy!