My very first best friend

I met a friend for coffee yesterday. Not just any friend. I met my very first best friend. My oldest friend. The girl I met on the first day of kindergarten. My mother and I stood at the bus stop waiting, and waiting. She and her mother had been doing the same and decided to drive to school. They picked us up and took us to Mrs. Kirby’s class together. That bus that didn’t show changed my life forever. (Okay – maybe a little dramatic because we ended up being in the same class and would have met anyway….but still you never know how it could have worked out.)

From that very first day of school, Becky and I were best friends. We spent so many days together playing and growing. I can’t even begin to share all of the memories we made. We were always together. She was either at my house or I was at hers. We grew up together. I still know her childhood phone number. I still remember the games we played, the adventures we shared. We dreamed together. We used to sit in my mom’s car and pretend to be grown ups. (Oh if we knew how hard being a grown up was going to be….). We would wear my mom’s sunglasses and pretend like we were driving to the mall while talking about our perfect husbands and our children. We even had “names” (I won’t share those…)

In the last 20 years, this was only the second time we have gotten together! But the minute we sat down I felt such a familiar, comforting warmth envelop me. We just picked up and talked and shared – this time as REAL grownups! When I think about all of the time we have missed over the past several decades, I feel sad that we didn’t make our friendship more of a priority, that we didn’t share in so many everyday moments of life. But rather than letting that sadness take hold, I have decided to use it for good. We have resolved to be more present in each other’s lives. We are not going to wait another 5, 10, even 20 years to catch up again. Two and half hours was not nearly enough time yesterday to catch up on what seems like a lifetime. So we will be intentional about our meetings. Cause here’s the thing…I don’t just want to get together and “catch up” anymore. I want to actually share in life with my very first best friend.

It did my heart good to sit and talk and laugh and listen to that voice that was such a HUGE part of my childhood. If there is anything I can share with you now it’s this. Pick up the phone and call that old friend. Send a letter (yes – like a real old-fashioned hand-written one). Take the first step, reach out and get together. I promise it will do your heart good too!

Zach

77251012_1068918693440446_4906038921999155200_nThe oldest of my five kids is Zach. He is finishing out his senior year at Otterbein University in Columbus, Ohio. I am quite certain this is not how he envisioned his final chapter of school going. Zach played football for the Cardinals, so during the fall I got to see him every single weekend – and it made my momma heart happy. Since we have all been under a stay at home order, I have not been able to see him. Many days I wished more than anything that he was here with the rest of us – to share in all of our family time. I know that he is with his own little family – his amazing girlfriend, Katie (superhero nurse), and their dog (my granddog) Archie. I know they are safe and happy – but I sure wish they were all here with us!

I wrote a poem about Zach when he was 12 years old. While so much has changed about my “little man” in the last decade, so much still remains the same. Here are those words from his childhood.

Zach

They call him
Mr. Intensity
On the field

But it fits
Him
In every way

He is passionate
And intense
Emotional and loyal

The kind of personality
That draws a crowd
And then entertains them

He is tender
And caring when
No one is looking

He will have his
Heart broken
Many times

But it will not
Change his intense
Caring nature

He is my
Little man
Zach

Zach is now a grown man who has not lost his intense, caring nature. He has survived a few heart breaks, and has found his forever love. He set goals and accomplished them. I know in the big picture, everything will be okay. But it’s hard to know he’s missing out on the end of college the way he had it pictured – saying goodbye to friends, parties, graduation, etc. But I also know that he is going to continue to do amazing things with the life he is building. And through it all, he will always be my Zach!

When I was a kid

Here I sit at my computer, feeling the need to express myself. Feeling the need to process through all that is happening in our world through words. I never imagined in my lifetime that I would be living through a statewide “lockdown.” So many emotions flood my heart and mind. Writing is how I cope. But at the same time, I don’t want my words to be discouraging or depressing. I truly am doing all I can to remain positive. I know that my children are feeling anxious (like me) but I don’t want to feed into their fears. My job is to calm their chaos, not create more. I want to be their safety. When they look to me, I want them to see me smiling and finding the positive in all of it.

Struggling to find my voice this afternoon, I turned to my decade old portfolio and dove in. I found a poem that I think is appropriate to share today.

When I was a kid…

When I was a kid,
My mom gave me a pair
Of rose-colored glasses

They were a gift
And I had to learn to use them
In the dark

You really have to
Focus to see things
In the dark

These glasses, they reflect
And they correct
My distorted vision

I put them on
To find the positive
In every situation

When I was a kid,
My mom gave me a pair
Of rose-colored glasses…

And I never lost them.