Flipping through posts on Facebook last night bored silly.
I am spending the weekend pretty much tied to my sofa, stupid knee.
And there it was.
It wasn't a beautiful picture, it wasn't flashy. Honestly it was sort of common place and ordinary. Just another silly meme that runs around the web.
Yet it opened a window. And once opened it became flood gates, that had been thrown wide open. It was another of those times when I feel that things happen for a reason. Sort of like that person being in my life at all. Ever!
Those that know me well, know that I am not an overly inviting person. If I truly let you in, it is because I feel safe, I feel love both for you and from you, and I have decided that I can trust you to do no harm to me. That number is very small. It is probably my military up bringing. Too many times too many people left, never to return. That was the days before the internet and being pen pals never lasted for long.
And today, I want to fully answer that meme....
Last night, just before heading to bed I started listing some of my favorite highlights with the woman that posted it... today, I want to celebrate her!
My ex and I were the sponsors assigned to her ex and her, the welcoming committee to Charleston, South Carolina. I knew they had two kids about the age of my daughter, and everything I learned sounded like they were going to be very nice people. But I do not do well with strangers. I will put up a wall that makes China's look tiny on a good day, this wasn't a good day.
My Mom was very ill, something we'd grown up knowing would happen had happened, and I was struggling greatly with that. In fact they arrived the night before I was leaving for Illinois. My Mom was already en route to Mississippi, where they were going to try and save her life. I was simply not feeling warm and fuzzy.
Sitting in their hotel room, I tried to be nice, I am sure I was distracted. My natural tendencies and my worry over my mother probably made me a horrid person. I don't really remember it well, after all it was about 28 years ago. I remember their two little ones, the girl an adorable spitting image of her mother, and the boy won my heart instantly, he was a tiny version of his dad with personality busting out of the seams. My daughter bonded to them instantly. One a year older, one a year younger... our three were the perfect mix.
After visiting for a bit, them exhausted from their travels, me stressed and withdrawn. Honestly, I was fairly certain I would only encounter them at official functions from that point forward.
When I returned to take back my life almost a full month later, I hardly anticipated an invitation to dinner to basically be waiting. But waited it did. For weeks...
My ex about drove me crazy wanting us to accept the invite, insuring me that they were awesome folks and I was going to love them. My heart had already told me that. I knew that a priceless friendship was waiting at the end of that invitation, my heart didn't want to take the risk.
The three of them finally wore me down. And one dinner, turned into probably hundreds more. The details are hazy, now it is just a collage in my mind and heart of all the times we laughed, loved and shared priceless never ending memories.
Both our families were low ranking military families, we struggled, money was never enough and together we found ways to make the ends meet in the middle and still feel rich.
Those dinners together let us pool our resources, they were dirt cheap but nourishing. She and I would dump our purses, clean out the sofa, dig through the cars to find enough to buy that fifty cent bottle of root beer to serve with taco salad. Or to have enough to buy a couple of BarNone candy bars at Walmart or K-mart when we were wandering around acting silly.
The men would go play computer games (who knew those darn new fangled things would take off), supposedly watching the kids and we would steal our time away. Both of us were stay at home mom's, because jobs that paid enough to cover day care were pretty much non-existent. We needed that break.
The Minnie Pearl hat and feminine hygiene cream that she offered to some strange man, walking around for hours surrounded by the smell of hyacinth, we couldn't afford to buy them so we would just take them with us as we browsed and laughed, then gently put them back. The smell of them is my favorite and always reminds me of her.
Over the years we had ups and downs, years we were apart, times we were there instantly and times we weren't.
I have a beautiful picture that hangs in my sewing room, she made it for me. Very few people make me things, I guess they don't realize that yes I can make it myself, which means I value it all the deeper because you took the time to make it for me. And actually it is only one of three, that she made me. It says we are sisters by heart. She's right we are.
She is the stronger older sister, I am a more flawed younger sister. Together her and I mastered so many different things. We share a love of many things. Crafting, gardening, cooking, our families and those we hold dear. I have quilted with her, crocheted with her, done needlework (you should see the beautiful quilt she made when my son was born).
She is one of the most genuine and loving women I have ever met... I am blessed that when I was an idiot she loved me anyway.
She was by my side (my ex didn't feel he could handle it), holding my hand when my precious boy entered the world. She was the one holding tight as we waited for his first breath. His heart had stopped a couple of times during delivery and he felt the need for a much grander entrance into the world. With tears in her eyes she waited for her turn to love that little guy.
I remember waiting with her and the kids when her ex broke his back playing football.
Together we shared tears, the kittens that were savagely attacked, moves, marriages on the rocks, and my stupidity. Together she and I have a history that can't ever be changed.
When she decided to stay in NM and start her life fresh, I was horrible. I didn't even attempt to see things from her perspective. My own past clouded my vision and made me blind. I raged at her. She needed me the most then, and I couldn't do it.
Our friendship was tarnished by my narrow minded selfishness. Hind sight being 20/20, I know that I was wrong. I was desperately trying to hold together the pieces of dreams. The four of us were always going to buy a bit of land together, so we could forever be close. The reality is that our friendship was worth more than our youthful marriages. They had run their courses, I wasn't strong enough, or brave enough to see what she had seen with clear eyes.
I think she forgave me. When I needed her the most when my own marriage and health fell apart, she was there. She brought her husband and I remember the laughter and joy being there. Sadly, I don't remember much more. I was very ill back then and the stress was too much. All those memories are tightly wrapped in a hazy bubble wrap and stored far back in my mind. I wish I could remember him more. I wish I could remember clearly if she met my hubby.
She has had some bumpy roads recently, and I wish I was there to hold her hand. They live too far for me to go right now.
I hope that she knows she is in my heart constantly. She is my sister by heart. I feel 100% confident that God fully intended her and I to be friends through this entire life....
Here is just a few moments in time for you DH...
kittens, flowers, cakes for shooting, Ray Stevens, laughter in the sun, hats with tags, candy bars, cooking dinner side by side, gooey, volksmarches, trips, touring Germany side by side, mille bourne, jungle juice, green eggs and ham, chips and salsa (I do remember you made me an amazing one in NM), Landstuhl, moving cars, creating dreams and memories, heart felt talks, prank calls, family, pickles at your folks, baby piglets, teasing about hunting and killing melons, meat jumping off of plates, laughing ourselves silly in stores, hyacinth's... oh and so much more...
Thank you, my dear friend.... for making sure I became your friend... Thank you for staying mine! You are a treasure, and definitely one of the greatest parts of my life... Miles may separate us, but our hearts will always be together!! Thank you for being some of the strongest threads that weave my life together!
In case you didn't know... I love you!