Wednesday, September 16, 2009

My Girls

If you read this blog you know I have a set of friends I go out with on a regular basis. And you have probably read about them in the past.

Tonight I met with them again. We did our monthly dinner out. Except it has been many months since we have been able to do it. So it was long overdue.

I have known these women for over 3 years. Our kids went to preschool together for 2 years and we have remained friends despite the fact that our kids now go to different elementary schools.

On my way home from the restaurant I felt different then I have in the past. Yes, I still had that feeling of being recharged after a lot of good laughs. I enjoyed our conversations. But tonight I felt more. I realized how special these women really are. I realized how much I depend on them, how much I admire them and how much I love them all.

I have many other friends in my life that I love. I have a best friend of 30 years. I have 4 fabulous college friends that live in four different states and for which I would do anything.

Why is this group so special to me? It is hard to explain but I will try.

There is no judgement.
There is total comfort around them.
They are sincere.
They are real.
They are funny.
They are extemely complimentary.
They love to make fun of each other's quirks.
They love to laugh.
They have great kids.
They have great husbands.
They are accepting.
They are all very different from each other.
They are extremely supportive at times of need.
They give great advice and true opinions when you really want one.
They know what is right for you more than you do.
They know how to make you feel good.

Life has been stressful and tough lately. And these women have been my rocks. They have held me up and pushed me forward. All in their own ways. They have given me hope and guidance. They have spoken words that have changed the way I think. Being a strong-willed person who is usually the rock for someone else this is sometimes hard to accept and admit. But they have been there without judgement. And have been there faithfully.

Prior to dinner, the most important thing I wanted to know is if one of my friends went to her class reunion. The day before the event she sent an email that she might not go because she wasn't feeling so good about how she looked. Well, tonight she expressed such gratitude for all the emails that we all sent back to her encouraging her to go and telling her how beautiful she really is. She was so amazed by our support she shared the emails with her husband and it actually made it him tear up.

Another friend gives me things because that is just her. Not out of welfare, but because that is what she loves to do. Share. And what it does for me and my self-esteem is more than she knows. Having that little something new or pretty makes a girl stand a little taller and smile more.

Recently, that same friend let me borrow a necklace for my job interview. She sent me home with 3. I privately loved 2 of them. I returned them to her tonight at dinner. She opened the little jewelry bag and pulled out the two I love and said, "Wait, you were supposed to keep these." I was taken aback. "No, I can't" I said. She said, "Yes, I have only worn that one once and I have something very similar to this one already." I immediately took off the necklace i was wearing and put on the white one and wore it with pride! It is not the material want or need of her gesture. It is the generosity. That she knows what I love and that she loves to give. To her giving and making you happy makes her happy.

I could go on about the others. They are all very special to me in their own way. I have a special relationship with each of them in my own way. They all provide something to me that the others may not. They are all unique.

But what they all have in common is that they are all beautiful. Inside and Out.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

An elementary celebrity

Today I visited my daughter during lunch. She is in 1st Grade at a public school.

Halfway through the the lunch I noticed a small group of kids suddenly stand up and start waving frantically and shouting something. I looked in the direction they were waving but couldn't see anyone. And then almost instantaneously every single 1st grader in that lunch room was on their feet waving and shouting towards the same direction. I couldn't make out what they were saying. I craned my neck to look.

I mean it was crazy the reaction these kids were having. Their faces all lit up with excitement. The cafeteria monitor and other parents were all looking at each other in disbelief.

I was quickly racking my brain to think who could be out that window that they all recognized and were excited to see? A New Orleans Saint? (I mean several have kids at our school) Nah. They wouldn't all recognize a player that easily. Someone dressed in a character outfit? Eh. Maybe. But such a reaction? It was like they knew this person . . . Firemen in uniform? Could be but again, why the excitement that was so incredibly fast? Hanna Montana? It had to be someone like that based on their reaction.

Well, it was none of the above.

Who was this person that these kids were frantically waving at, on their feet pratically jumping up and down about seeing, chanting his/her name?

It was . . .
The retired principal of the school! Someone that they knew for 1 year (last year) as they were all 1st graders. I was shocked when she finally walked in. I thought these kids were going to explode if she didn't acknowledge them. She spoke a few words to one of the monitors and then took the lunchroom microphone they use to dismiss lunch and addressed the kids.

She proceeded to tell the children that even though she is retired she will be at the school every Thursday. She is going to take Violin lessons (the same ones they offer the kids - with the same teacher). She is also going to come into the lunch room like she used to and teach them French. Apparently, she did this with the kids during her years as principal.

So she got down to business and started teaching them French. And even gave them a homework assignment. To take what they learned that day (asking someone how they are doing) and applying it at home with their parents.

I met this woman many times last year. I saw her for what she was. The Principal. I encountered her outside the school a few times and she seemed nice enough.

But today I saw something else. I saw a woman who to these kids is a rock star. She is someone they truly admire, respect and love. And it made me proud to have my child at such a school where such respect, admiration and love is really a two way street.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Janis Joplin and Rum

Today I was listening to a Janis Joplin song. And with many songs/artists, the music reminds you of a particular moment in your life.

One time when I was home for the summer from college, my parents took me to a state park in Ohio. It was a few hours from our house and we just went for the night to get away and do something.

At this point I was finally legally able to have a drink. Although sharing a drink with my parents happened before that time. But this time I went down to the bar in the lodge with my dad and we pulled up two 1970's brown vinyl bar stools to the very small bar. We were the only patrons at the bar.

My dad ordered us two Pina Coladas with Meyer's Dark Rum. It is his favorite rum and he wanted to introduce me to it since in college about all I drank was cheap beer.

He put a few bucks in the Jukebox and played a bunch of Janis Joplin songs. Together he and I sat there listening to Janis and sipping our Pina Coladas. Sharing a right of passage and first moment - Legally drinking with a parent in an actual bar.

I don't recall what we talked about. Dad isn't much of a conversationalist. Doesn't matter. It was the atmosphere. The music. The rum. The moment.