Thursday, October 29, 2009

Today’s note is brought to you by the letter F

Write about another ‘F’ word my friend Susan suggests to me in a recent e-mail. I’d been whining to her about how I wish we could have lunch, the little matter of 1,100 miles separating us notwithstanding.

She was referring to ‘friends.’

The first time my older son went to Germany was as a foreign exchange student his junior year of high school. Susan’s daughter is now in her last year of law school, but as a high school student she also spent a year abroad. At that time, Susan and I were both adjuncts sharing a third-floor office in the oldest building on the West Virginia University campus. The idea of a child being that far from home, was, well (pun intended) a ‘foreign’ concept to me.

Little did I know…

So the year my son was gone, Susan was my rock. The one friend who could know firsthand what I was going through. I wanted to keep the whining (notice a trend here?) to my husband to a minimum because he too was missing our eldest. So Susan ate endless spinach salads at lunchtime with me and commiserated.

Susan is an introvert, which doesn’t stop her from being a top-notch public relations professional. I am an extrovert, like her sister Mary was. Mary and I also shared that same office for a time, her clutter and my anal retentiveness not getting in the way of our friendship. Susan and Mary were not only sisters, but best friends, and I envied them that. I have a sister, whom I love and who loves me, but ours is a prickly relationship.

Mary was born on November 1, and one Halloween she threw herself a costume party to celebrate. She hadn’t been feeling well (and you know any story that starts with that is going to end sadly and badly), but that night she laughed and twirled around the dance floor with her husband as did Susan and her husband and me and mine. My husband was dressed like a zombie biker (no makeup, just the expression) and I borrowed a witch’s costume from a much younger (and thinner) mom of one of my younger son’s friends.

In April the following year Mary died, six months shy of her 50th birthday.

I loved Mary, I love Susan and all my friends who are like sisters (and brothers) to me. And as I stare down fifty, whining and complaining the whole way about each new wrinkle (real or imagined) and each pound around my middle (real) and lament I really am too old to have any more babies (real or imagined), I gotta say what we say every Sunday in church when prayers for blessings are offered:

Thank you, God.

I really have had and continue to have wonderful friends in my life.


  1. So nice, Pam. The only inaccuracy in your story is that Bill and I were also dancing at that party. As I recall, in fact, we just sat and enjoyed watching everyone else dance, as that is more our speed. I will never forget Mary twirling around in some kind of southern belle costume. Or was she Mistress Mary, quite contrary? I'm not sure. Nice memories.

  2. Such a lovely post! You're a wonderful mother, Pam.