I write this Blog today in honour of International Women’s Day, and, as a Tribute to my women friends. It is not my intention to ‘miss’ anyone, but only for the sake of space, I cannot mention everyone. But do not fear, your ‘story’ will find its way to my Blog. 😊
You know the ones. The ones you had in school, or maybe even before. Some people say the friends they had for life were those made in post-secondary school. Or the ones you meet by some random chance, at a party, or a visit to friends, and you just ‘click’ and become instant friends.
This week I got to spend time with my friend Lynda. We’ve known each other since I was 23. 30 years. (I know, you’re all doing the math…yes, I’m 53). We lived together once, back in the day, and on the morning of my (first) wedding, she made me and one of my bridesmaids crepes! 🙂 We talked today, just like we hadn’t been apart.
Karen is one of my first friends and hence, one of the longest. Notice I did not say oldest, because I do have friends older than her…but since she is 15 days older than me she could be consider an older friend. 🙂 (I’ll pay for that later) My family had moved to a new community where I would be attending Grade 2 in a new school. Ohhhh I did not like walking into that room. All those eyes on me. But I did and I sat down. Now to hear Karen tell the story she would say, “In walked this girl with a green dress and the reddest hair I had ever seen.” Or something along those lines. We were instant friends. She was like a saviour to me, a cool drink of water on a parched day. She came and got me for recess and out we went to happily play on the swings. It began. We had sleepovers at each other’s houses. Karen had the neatest little sewing machine, and I loved playing with it. I can still remember her mom making fried chicken…it was the best fried chicken I had ever had (sorry mom). I remember Karen and I, along with a few other girls, were going to start a Band. Boy, were we good. We practiced our routine on the monkey bars every lunch hour. Yeahhh…good thing we each had a Plan B. Karen and I are still friends today. We don’t see each other very often, but we chat long distance and our conversations are like we’ve never been apart, because we just have that connection.
Before moving I spent two weeks enjoying ‘last’ times with many lifelong friends. Having coffee, and lunches, and suppers, going for tea, popping by. Friends from Work, School Parents, Basketball, Guides, Teachers, Nails, Pedicures, $20 Club, Hair Dressers, Exercise, Dog Owners; I could go on and on. 3 of those lifelong friends, Karen (the Karen mentioned above), Marilynn, and Kerri came the day our Movers arrived; our last day. And they stayed all day. We had so much fun. We sat on the back deck and watched the movers work, while we drank coffee and told stories, and laughed…and cried. Kerri and I worked together, and in her first week of employment we went on a training course together, overnight, and shared a room. You get to know someone very quickly in that close of proximity. I still remember having supper with her and I had asked her a question and there was this pause, because she was eating. “Oh don’t mind me,” she said. “Nothing comes between me and my food.” Yep, instant friends. Marilynn and I have been through a lot together. Work, divorces, marriages, babies, deaths, and moving away. Our boys are best friends which gave us many years of laughter, and the shaking of our heads.
One weekend, 5 of the $20 Club girls went to Calgary to take one of our friends Perry-Lynn, Grad Dress shopping for her son’s graduation. Perry Lynn has MS, and so, to expedite the shopping, we got a wheelchair for her…she wasn’t happy. But she eventually went along with it, and we made sure she had fun. One of us took her to the top of the wheelchair ramp in the Mall and…let her go. SO MUCH FUN! I can’t exactly recall who that was…hmmmm. 😊 We piled bags onto her and hung them off the handles of the wheelchair. Bev was our Driver, and poor Geraldine, who is a little bit nervous in a vehicle, had to be moved away from the centre of the back seat so she couldn’t see, as she tended to shout out once in awhile. Especially when Bev carved it across three lanes of traffic to make a turn. OH MY DOG…I almost died laughing. Carrie made us go to The Ranchman’s. Okay, maybe she didn’t make us. And I was ‘exposed’ to something called…fill in the blank, ‘______ (rhymes with) ‘shooters’. Again, OH MY DOG.
Then there is Charmaine who I spent so much time laughing with my mouth hurt. We worked together where my boss kinda tricked her into ‘temporarily’ working in the Office. Just to ‘answer the phone’ is all. She’s been there 12 plus years now. And oh how we laughed, and had fun. Drove our bosses crazy with all our talking, but we did our work and then some.
Jodi who I spent many years helping with Guides. Always my ‘cup half full’ and ‘Okay, that didn’t work, lets try this’ friend. Always positive, always looking for an alternative if plans go awry. And they do. Especially when she tried to pack her ‘extra’ purchases from Mexico into a bag she thought ‘for sure’ could be a carry on. It wasn’t.
Our second or third day after moving to British Columbia, I met another lifelong friend, for the first time. Dominique, or Dom as she prefers to be called. We hit it right off. She lived on the same property as us, in the ‘Carriage House’. It was so much fun to have coffee almost daily with her, with one of us invariably walking over in our slippers and pj’s. We do not live next door to each other anymore, but we talk on the phone almost daily, and we get together for lunch and coffee and dog play dates.
My daughter-in-law Rena is probably one of the best Mom’s I know. I am amazed at her patience, at how she not just raises Wyatt, but plays with him and spends time with him. When Curtis, (my son, her husband) was away working for weeks at a time, 3 to 6 weeks; she was steadfast. Yes, she got tired, yes, she got frustrated, but she persevered, she didn’t give up, and I admire her tenacity, her strength. I also admire her decision to start a new venture…Beekeeping. We have spent precious days together, but one in particular had me chasing/disposing of mice. If there is one thing I cannot stand, it’s rodents. I can still picture Rena with her pant legs tucked into her cowboy boots, with Curtis’ very large gloves on, and a broom in her hand, trying to corral the mouse. Good times.
My mom was the one whom I share my love for laughter and being strong-willed. She was an encourager of course, she was a mom, but she truly made me believe I could do anything. All my friends loved my mom, and she loved everyone. Any person was welcome in her home as she truly cared for all people. That is something about my mom I strive to emulate; love for all people.
My mother(s)-in law, yes, I say the plural because I am still friends with my ex-mother-in-law. I don’t like saying ‘ex’ because she is still a part of my life. A warrior, passionate about her faith, and will always love me, no matter what. My now mother-in-law, a little 4’11’ whiff of a woman, who could put me on my back with one look. As full of grace and sweetness as she is tough. I am so blessed to have another ‘Mom’ and am honoured to call her ‘Momma’.
One of the most fun lifelong friends I have is my daughter, Bethany. What a joy to have a daughter and a friend. When we get together we talk and giggle, and you should see us if it’s been a week. We have it in ‘cruise control’ as my Mom used to say. We are so similar it’s scary sometimes. (poor girl). She has my sarcastic mouth, but she is far wittier than I. Ward always loves to hear she is coming over. ‘Good’, he says. “I’ll get to hear you guys giggling.” We love to laugh at ourselves, because we have to…there are so many opportunities. She is my confidante, my go-to person, my ‘what do you think about…’ person; she is a blessing.
My story would not be complete without mentioning my sister, Colleen. Now there is a lifelong friend. Known me since before my birth, suckered me into doing many, many chores…I wonder why I detest vacuuming? But, she is the one who stood up to bullies for me on our bus, she hauled me with her many places I’m sure she rather I’d not tagged along, and gave me money for treats (I think it was back pay for vacuuming). She’s seen me at my worst, and at my best, always speaks the truth to me whether I want to hear it or not…but she’s always right. It’s just because she’s older that makes her wiser. (Couldn’t resist Colleen). Her kids and my kids always comment how alike we are in our voices, our sayings, our gestures, even our looks. We laugh because we use to say the same thing about our mom and her sister. I consider it an honour to be told I’m like her. I love you ‘Cleanabeana’.
What do all these women have in common? They are wonderful. Wonderfully made by The Creator in His image. Full of grace, mercy, beauty, love and compassion. Yet each is an individual with strengths, and weaknesses, which makes them special. Special in their sensitivity, their pain, their laughter, their needs, their gifts, and their stories. Special to anyone who has the privilege to call them their friends. Special to me because you let me be your friend. I am so blessed to have these friends in my life, and the many more I have not mentioned. Thank you, to all of you.
‘Just A Little Something’ from a lifelong friend.