Tag Archives: friendship

Aloha!

21 Oct

We had a couple of 4:00 AM mornings on our Hawaiian adventure.  It wasn’t as bad as it sounded, allowing us unhurried viewing of the first morning light.  It also meant time for reading guidebooks, more specifically an article on Hawaii’s history and the birth of an island.

Islands, like Maui, are shoved into being by a force below the ocean’s floor.  These volcanic islands start as barren geological features and over the course of thousands of years become the beautiful places they are today.  This mostly happens by circumstance — a seed drifts ashore, a bird is blown off course by a storm, people discover and settle.

And there was this thought of our trip and friendships and the parallels it all held to the life span of an island.  People are drawn together by these forces we cannot see, maybe its chance; maybe it’s the result of a much greater force at work.

But whatever you believe, the result is just as miraculous.  Small, seemingly insignificant things accumulate over time — a walk, a meal, an adventure — all of these things build to create a unique landscape between the people that shared them.

An island has a lifespan.  Maui, the guidebook explained, was in its twilight years, the last active volcano hasn’t erupted since 1790.  Its growth has slowed.  Our trip has ended, too, but the bits and pieces we collected will become the good memories that add life to our friendships, until we meet again.

A hui hou kakou.

 

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The Gift

30 Jul

There’s a story that hasn’t been told. One that centers around a friend, a necklace, and a plane ride. Today is the right time to tell it.

The moving truck was filling up fast. The rooms empty except for a few cardboard boxes. I got a phone call from a friend saying she wanted to stop by. I dreaded this moment. When she arrived we chatted until it was time to say goodbye. She handed me a card and a silver padded envelope. I didn’t want to cry so I waited to open it after she left.

Inside the envelope was a necklace. A lotus flower fashioned on a silver circle. “New Beginnings” the card read, “wear your necklace daily as a reminder to embrace new experiences and opportunities…just like the lotus, rising from muddy beginnings into something beautiful and celebrated.”

And I did wear it. Everyday. It helped me walk around the block. Unpack a box. Get a library card. Sleep at night. Meet a friend.

It became a habit to wear it. Like brushing my teeth. I felt that by wearing it, my dear friend, who I was used to talking to almost daily on the phone was right there with me.

She did stay with me. (And still does.) A phone call from her makes my day. We always chat easily. She’s honest and real and funny as hell. She’s also a very experienced traveller (with and without babies). Naturally she was the first person I called after booking my sans Ryan trip back East. She was confident I could handle it.

The morning of the trip arrived. My bags were packed. I got dressed and put on my necklace. I can travel by myself, across the country, on a plane, with a baby (a very squirmy baby).

We went through security. A lady folded my stroller for me. We boarded the first leg of our flight. I was seated next to a man who had twins, twice. He had nothing under his seat so he gave me his extra room. We arrived in Dallas. We had lunch. We survived our 3 hour layover. We had our last bathroom stop before boarding. I pushed Abigail into the bathroom. She was playing with my water bottle and lost her grip. I quickly reached down to grab it before it fell on the floor. When I stood up I felt a tug. My hand went to my neck. The necklace had been caught on the handle of the stroller and was now broken.
My eyes were filling up fast. I didn’t have time to cry. Our flight was boarding. I put the necklace into my backpack and headed out of the bathroom. A few hours later we landed in Richmond. I had done it.

I couldn’t believe the timing of the necklace breaking. In the past few months I had grown so much. I was stronger and braver. It wasn’t just the necklace that helped me adjust. It was the thought behind it. A friend I never wanted to leave unselfishly gave me all the support in the world. Every call, every text, every note she continues to bless me with makes it a little easier to be away. It isn’t surprising that her name is Joy.

Unexpected Blessings

30 Jun

About 6 months ago I did something so out of character for myself that I am still surprised I even did it at all. I went up to a complete stranger at story time and asked her how old her daughter was. We chatted for a bit and went our separate ways. If you’ve never had to make a friend from a complete stranger let me just tell you — it feels a whole lot like a first date. It’s not the most comfortable situation, so I was totally embarassed when after she told me her name was Asia I said, “Like the continent?” Yep, I said that. Out loud. But despite that we exchanged numbers and decided to meet at the aquarium a few days later. We’ve been aquarium junkies and fast friends ever since. And so have our daughters.

And I’m so thankful that I found her because I might just be drifting into insanity without her. It kind of seems glamorous from the ouside looking in — the whole concept of a stay at home mom. Always having time for things like taking a shower before you head out for your daily errands at 9, a clean house where laundry never piles up, and putting your feet up to watch Kathie Lee and Hoda with a hot cup of chai.  (Okay, maybe I do make time for that last one…)

So it’s good to have a friend where it’s okay if you are wearing the same outfit you wore when you saw her the day before. Someone who doesn’t mind wiping off a little dog drool every now and then. The kind of friend who will spontaneously go with you to see if “Mamaconda” has had her babies at the aquarium. But most importantly someone with a really good texting package that allows you to send hundreds of texts a day about how excited you were that your daughter licked a carrot instead of just eating string cheese for the last 5 days.

I love that Abigail now has a friend too. Someone who helps her learn to share a favorite chair or loans her a pair of pajamas so we can stay after dinner and play just a little longer. A friend who always brings extra strawberries because she knows you’ll want some too. And someone who gives great hugs, even if they are sometimes a little too big.

Because when you have friends like that they aren’t just friends.  They’re family.

A Dog’s Best Friend

10 Feb

My friend Heather always told me I need to write a story about Hank.  I have had the beginning of Hank’s story in my heart for a long time.  Today I knew how to finish it.

A Dog’s Best Friend:  A True Story

Hank, the Newfoundland, was a friendly dog. The little girl across the street thought that Hank was the biggest dog in the universe. He wasn’t, but his extra large size had helped him make a lot of friends.  Hank’s very best friend was Calla. Calla was graceful and lean with short hair. Hank was big and clumsy with too much hair. They had an ordinary friendship, but to Hank it was one of a kind. They enjoyed playing chase and eating ice cubes. Calla was a fast runner, sometimes too fast for Hank. But Hank was extra slobbery, sometimes too slobbery for Calla. Whenever Hank’s big, blue van drove up to Calla’s house his tail would wag and Calla would run out to greet her friend. They were different, but together they were great.

One day, a big truck came to Hank’s house. Three men got off the truck and began to pack up the family’s things. When all that was left were a few dust bunnies, the truck drove away. Soon Hank’s family piled in their big, blue van. They drove the familiar route to Calla’s house, and when they arrived Hank’s tail began to wag and Calla ran out. “Stay, Hank. It’s time to say goodbye.” The people friends hugged and promised to stay in touch. Hank whimpered and laid down. Something seemed wrong.

They drove for many days. There were windy roads in West Virginia. Iowa was full of farmland. In Nebraska a tumbleweed danced across the highway. On they traveled into rocky Wyoming and the mountains of Utah. They passed an onion truck in Idaho. When they got to Oregon they saw many things – a desert and a river and a forest of evergreens. It seemed liked the big, blue van would never stop. But it did. “This is your new home, Hank. Come and see.” Hank got out and felt the crisp ocean breeze and smelled the salty air. This wasn’t home, but he liked it.

A few months went by and Hank grew to love the beach. When the weather cooperated the family would go for a walk there. Many nice people wanted to pet Hank, so he let them. Some dogs wanted to play with Hank, so he played. Other dogs barked at Hank, afraid, so he stayed close by his family. He always had fun, but he missed his friend, Calla.

On one particularly sunny day, Hank was loaded into the big, blue van extra early. “We’re going to meet a friend.” said his mama. They drove a few miles and got out. From around the corner came a black dog with short hair. “This is Bella.” Hank sniffed Bella. Bella sniffed Hank. Bella and Hank raced down to the beach, where they chased a tennis ball and splashed in a creek. Bella was sometimes too fast for Hank, and Hank was sometimes too slobbery for Bella, but their tails wagged and wagged. Hank knew Bella was different, but together things felt great again.