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.
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
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.