Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Flowers...

Cate loves Strawberry Shortcake -- the cartoon character (although she does delight in the dessert version as well...). We even call her Strawberry Short-CATE, which just makes her giggle. So, you'll understand why a song from one of the Strawberry Shortcake DVDs is stuck in my head! You can breathe a sigh of relief that I'm not SINGING this...but use your imagination and hum along...."Friendship grows like a flower....friendship grows like a flower..." It is a lovely song with the sweetest idea of friendship growing with a little loving care.

Yesterday, after a powerful service at church celebrating Easter (my favorite holiday!), we headed across the Valley of the Sun, to visit with our Phoenix family, long-time friends of my husband and his mother...and I've been humming the song ever since!

So today, because Spring makes me nostalgic in general, and because I want to honor this friendship in particular, you get to hear the story!

More than 30 years ago, the Shrader family of three moved to Chicago and next door to the Tabone family of four. The moms -- Marsha Shrader and Becky Tabone (now Merrill) quickly formed a friendship with toddlers in tow. The Tabones added a baby boy and the oldest two (my hubby and Janette) started school together, and the friendship grew (like a flower....OK, you don't have to hum along.).

Too soon, the Shraders felt the need to move South, and the Tabones West. Good-byes were said, and the promise to stay in touch. These moms did. There was another baby, divorces, the death of a beloved child and years passing. But these women maintained the friendship that had been cultivated all those years before.

Marsha flew to Phoenix for Becky's daughter's wedding. Becky was at the hospital in Chicago immediately after our triplets were born. And even Wade and Janette stayed close (OK, Janette gets total credit for this!), with visits to see us in Minnesota on more than one occasion.

So both moms were delighted when Wade accepted a job in Phoenix -- albeit on the OTHER side of the Valley from where the "next door neighbors" now live! We do not spend nearly enough time together -- but we try! They were here to meet baby Cate. We were together for Becky's oldest grandchild's high school graduation. We've even taken a Disney cruise together (oooh, we had to coerced to do that!).

And yesterday, we celebrated Easter together. I had to giggle at the friendships that have grown from these two women who lived next door to each other 30-something years ago and have kept their resolve to "stay in touch"!

Some of Becky's grands (her son, Justin, lives in Colorado and couldn't join us for Easter) and all of Marsha's (easier to do since Wade is an only-child!). The kids aren't totally oblivious to the amazing connections...but it takes a backseat to the fun they having playing video games, petting horses and puppies, and just hanging out together!

Janette and Wade walked to school together every day for kindergarten and first grade, but I've totally claimed the friendship. She is dear to me and I'm just thankful for her!! (This friend with amazing strength will depart for her tour in Iraq in October -- keep her in your prayers!)

And the newest friendship to bloom -- Our Cate and Becky's grandson, Garritt! They walked around holding hands yesterday and making us all smile. And because almost-five-year-old Garritt lives in Utah with his family, he made a point of coming up to me before we left to say, "If you give me your address I can write your baby Cate a letter!"

Do you think they will stay in touch for 30 years plus?

Isn't friendship that grows such a blessing? (Sing with me now....)


Kristin Sidaway said...

What a beautiful story of friendship! Thank you and Happy Easter.