Friday, October 31, 2014

Counting giggles, bubbles and the gift of friendship!!

We have reached Day 31 of my writing challenge. I can not believe it. Thank you thank you thank you for sticking with me, or for reading more than one. You are just the best.

I have learned so much during this challenge. I have re-visited Young Mama Me and sat with her in the uncertainty of what the future would hold for her precious triplets. I have cried more than once as I recalled the heartache of not knowing what every single tomorrow holds. I have felt awash with the emotions of those early years and I have felt grateful -- all kinds of grateful -- for the amazing way my boys and my girls have taught me how to mother.

And today, as I conclude this series, I have to also say I am ever grateful for a friend who has walked beside me through the good, the bad and the ugly. A friend who refused to judge or hold a grudge. A friend I give thanks for every single day.

August 14, 1999 -- "Mrs. Carol, Do I need to send my goons after you? (Ok, the kids were watching Arthur and they were talking about not knowing what goons were on there....) You better get on this computer and type!! Write woman, write."

April 30, 1999 -- "I'm turning in....just wanted to do better about saying my howdies and good nights. :) "

April 27, 1999 -- "I miss you. Can I just say that today especially it seems terribly unfair that we can't live in the same place?"

January 9, 2000 -- "There you go disappearing on me again! Are you ok? Did your computer hit a Y2K glitch?"

And from my friend:

Dec. 16, 1999 -- "Hello dear friend, You're pulling a Carol Herrod and not writing! I deserve it! ha! I KNOW things are hectic."

Sept. 1, 1999 -- "Hey. Just wanted you to know that I have NOT deserted you!"

May 10, 2000 -- "Hello dear friend! It is OH, SO GOOD to have you back! Please give me an update on the Shrader crew. I feel so disconnected."

See, as I re-type those I chuckle. We had to spend as much time apologizing to each other as telling each other about our days. Because you know...we were both brand new moms and free-time was fleeting! (Or non-existent.) But the beauty in these emails is the grace. Always always my friend Carol gives me grace.

It didn't start that way though....hee hee:

Carol and I met at Governor's School in 1985. We met there. That was about it. I thought she was mean. She thought I was a snob. I was scared of her. She thought I talked to everybody BUT her. It was not friendship at first sight.

Two summers later we would be seated face-to-face at Orientation for Camp Garaywa. We had both been chosen as counselors. I could not believe my eyes. Why would they pick this mean girl? She could not believe her eyes either, how could they hire a snob?

For the love of Garaywa -- and because we trusted Miss Trish Simmons, our camp director -- we decided to sit down and hash out our very intense feelings about each other. We stayed up most of the first night talking and guess what: She wasn't mean, she was extremely shy. And um, I wasn't a snob, I was just scared of her. We laughed and laughed at how wrong our first impressions had been.

We didn't know it yet, but God knew we were going to need each other...and not just for a week or two. For life. Thank goodness He gave us another chance since we had completely blown the first one!

We spent the next two summers working together. We visited each other at school. And we wrote letters (you know the kind that require stamps because there was no such thing as email.). We talked on the phone when we could. But always, always, always when we were together we could laugh, cry and just be together. I was always a better ME after time with my friend.

Carol's wonderful Daddy would battle lung cancer. My dear daddy would battle lung cancer. We would cry with each other in our grief.

Our husbands would both go to medical school, residency and do fellowships. We encouraged each other. We found a safe place to whine with each other. We offered support for each other in a phase of life we had no idea how to handle.

We would have our first child (ok, children for me) very close to each other. And we would start emailing each other as a lifeline to sanity!!

And then nine years later, after I called her with "You better sit down. I'm having another baby" She called me a couple of months later and said the same!! We would both have girls....sassy, sweet, smart girls who will keep us forever young!

God gave me this friend. Her faith. Her ability to be grace-filled in any situation. Her non-judging friendship. I'm not counting the frequency with which we type -- or call or visit -- I'm counting the fact that she has been beside me through thick, thin, ugly and beautiful and she has pointed me to the One who gives me the grace to handle it all. I'm counting ways to be an iron-sharpens-iron friend to her. I am counting the laughter that bubbles out when I am in her presence for even a minute.

I am counting the gifts of true friendship.

Carol - The Blessings Counter