Today we went to the zoo with some friends. As we were leaving after 5 hours of sweating and walking, the kids began to beg to play together…as if we hadn’t just spent the ENTIRE day with them.
On the way home, I got a text from the mother of my daughter’s best friend, asking if the girls could play, even though it would only be for a short while. Thinking she may be too tired from a whole day at the zoo, I asked Faith if she wanted to play, or wait till tomorrow. “After all, you saw her yesterday, Faith.”
What was her response? “No Mom! I want to play.”
It takes almost an hour to get home from the zoo, and as I drove and the kids napped in the blasting AC, I began to think about friends, and what a blessing they are, and how rare it is to find good friends, and how blessed I have been by so many wonderful friends in my life.
(Insert the music from the famous and altogether cheesy Michael W. Smith song here.)
So, I have decided to reminisce about my friends. It’s gonna take a while, and it’s not going to be an all inclusive reminiscing. If you’re wondering why you should read through this list…well, you don’t have to. But there will be a point at the end. I promise. J
I’m gonna start with the friends I have had the longest. You know who I mean, right? We all have those friends. You start out in the nursery at church together, or somewhere like that, and somehow your lives just sort of MESH. Over the years your families become friends, and you grow up, and life brings changes and separations, but they are still your friends. They are safe places for you, because they have seen ALL of your bad hair choices and they still love you.
Heather and Ashley House have been my friends since Heather and I were 2, and Ashley and my brother were babies. They are those family friends that basically BECOME family after a while. We saw each other only a couple times a year growing up, because we lived several states apart, but picking up and being friends was always easy. As kids we played together, as adults we have laughed together until our stomachs hurt. And we have wept together until we had no more tears; we are basically family after all, and so when the Bausum’s lost Joy, the Houses lost her too. They are a safe place for my pain, because they feel it too. I cherish them so very much.
My cousin Kristina was another one of those friends that I only saw a few times a year, but when we were together, we were inseparable. She was the one who would go hiking in the woods with me, and have a campout on the trampoline, and race UP the DOWN escalator in the mall with me. She was my spades partner, she was a bridesmaid in my wedding, she isn’t just my cousin. She is my dear friend. Hanging out with her is so wonderful because her accent makes mine seem very unnoticeable. J
Tara Trotter was the first friend I made when my family moved to SC. She has been my friend since I was 9 years old. Talk about seeing all each other’s BAD HAIR choices!!! J We survived feathered bangs together!!! And tube socks, and stirrup pants. We made up dances to songs by our favorite artists (Michael W. Smith, DC Talk, Carmen…I can even remember some of the moves, Tara! I feel a dance party coming on!) She may be the only long time friend I have never had an ACTUAL fight with…although that is DEFINITELY not because of me. She has always been kind to me, even when I was crazy! When we first became friends my mom told me “Tara can be a wonderful friend for you. I just know it.” Tara and I haven’t seen each other in almost 2 years, but when I think about her, my heart feels safe. That’s just the kind of friend she is. My mom was not wrong.
Jamie Setzer was my high school Siamese twin. She knows ALL my secrets (and why does it seem like the most important secrets are your high school ones?), all the MANY boys I had crushes on, and all the right responses to all of my moods. She will laugh with me, cry with me, fuss at me, or sympathize with me. She knows the right thing to say or do, because she has been my friend for a LONG time, through a LOT of life. Heart ache shared with a friend makes the friendship stronger, and Jamie and I have shared a LOT of heartache. Breakups, fights, moves…all while we were still young. And as adults we have shared even more pain. She lost her daughter Melody. I will never forget the look in her eyes at the graveside service. She just looked at me, and I couldn’t say anything to ease her pain. I remember reaching out to touch her cheek, wanting to lend her my heart for just one second, to take from her the agony she felt and give her a moment to breathe. I remember that she put her head on my shoulder and cried. And when Joy died, and my agony felt so altogether consuming, I saw her face walking into the church. It was just like it had been at Melody’s grave. Our eyes held, and we swapped hearts for a second. She took my pain and lent me her love. What a special blessing to be so knit together that we can share each other’s hearts, thoughts, failures and triumphs.
Okay, that’s all for round one. As I said, this isn’t a COMPLETE list of my childhood friends. I am just wanting to give honor to a few that have been on my heart lately. Each mentioned friend in a sister in my heart. Each one is totally different from the others, and each one has tons of FABULOUS things about them. But I have a ‘FAVORITE’ thing about each of them. Would you like to hear it? It will be important later.
Heather always texts me on days when I am sad. I don’t know how she knows, but she does. She tells me she’s thinking about me. She tells me she’s there if I need her. She tells me she’s praying for me and loves me. She’s very thoughtful. It’s one of my favorite things about her.
Ashley makes me laugh all the time. And she lets me be CRAZY and doesn’t judge me. In fact, she may JOIN my craziness. She accepts me, and I feel safe being all the icky parts of me with her. It’s one of my favorite things about her.
Kristina is tough as nails. Nothing is too hard for her to at least attempt. And yet, she’s ridiculously down to earth. She doesn’t walk around wearing a cape and letting everyone know she’s ‘Super Woman.’ She just smiles, sings, laughs, and loves. It’s one of my favorite things about her.
Tara laughs at everything I say, even if it’s only sort of funny. Yes, I know that’s a really selfish thing to like about someone, but it’s not only that she laughs at me. She makes me feel important, and valued, and worth her time. I can tell she likes being with me. That’s a wonderful quality in a friend. It’s one of my favorite things about her.
Jamie can read my mind. (yep, that’s another selfish one) Even if it’s been ages since we talked, we can have a conversation where each of us only half finishes sentences, because the other one already knows the end. It’s such a relief to have someone who has taken the time to KNOW your heart, and loves you even more after all the crazy dust of youth calms. She KNOWS me, and I know her. It’s one of my favorite things about her.
Part Two coming soon!!!!